Immunosuppressive drugs are a double-edged sword to type 1 diabetics

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Type 1 diabetes is caused when immune cells attack and destroy the insulin producing beta-cells of the pancreas.

Although insulin injections have changed the life of type I diabetics, they neither cure the disease nor prevent its severe complications.

It was hoped that islet transplantation would provide a cure, however, transplant success is short-lived and accompanied by significant side effects.

New data from Yuval Dor and colleagues at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem, have indicated that the immunosuppressive drugs used to prevent rejection of islet transplants suppress beta-cell regeneration in diabetic mice.

As mentioned by the authors and discussed in the accompanying commentary by Klaus Kaestner from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, this raises the possibility that if immunosuppressive drugs that do not inhibit beta-cell regeneration can be identified successful regenerative islet transplantation might become a reality.

http://www.jci.org/

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