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PEARLS IN ENDOCRINOLOGY
Division of Pediatrics, Department of Clinical of Experimental Medicine, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
Development of insulin pumps and glucose sensors together with sophisticated algoritms and connections leading to closed loop systems will probably soon improve and facilitate treatment for many patients with Type 1 diabetes (T1D). However, the burden for patients will not disappear completely, and such therapy will still require both competence and motivation of patients. Therefore the final goal should be either to cure the disease via replacement therapy (transplantions) or stop the destructive process, preserve residual insulin secretion or even improve via beta cell regeneration. This will give a milder disease, a more stable metabolism, simpler treatment and perhaps even cure. It is neither necessary nor even plausible that Type 1 diabetes has one single cause or pathogenesis. Infections may be one causal factor, and vaccinations will then turn the increasing incidence downwards. We will also soon know whether it is possible to prevent some cases of T1D by avoiding cow´s milk in the early nutrition. It is possible that probiotics can influence the gut flora so that the gut permeability is normlized and maturation of the immune system is improved which may also contribute to less incidence of Type 1 diabetes. However, for those who already have got the disease we need interventions to preserve exisiting beta cell function and facilitate regeneration of beta-cells. Broader immunosuppressive therapies have been disappointing. Phase III studies using monocloncal antiCD3 antibodies have recently failed, but one dose regimen showed promising effect in patients aged 8-20 years. Therefore furthers studies are needed. Autoantigen treatment is a promising concept, and has the great advantage of being easy, practical with no adverse events. Diapep277 has shown some positive results in adults with good C-peptide, and glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD)-alum has given quite impressive results in children aged 10-20 years, even though the results from studies differ. It is time to start combination therapies where auto-antigen/s, alone or in combination, are used together with other agents such as Vitamin D and anti-inflammatory drugs. We need to learn how to treat subgroups of patients. Gradually a more individualized treatment may become successful.