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FDA-approved drug may slow beta cell destruction in type 1 diabetes patients
Date:12/4/2009

s of either rituximab or a placebo once a week for four weeks. The participants, who ranged in age from 8 to 40 years and had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes within 100 days of enrollment in the study, returned approximately every three months for two years to undergo blood tests and meet with a physician. Two-thirds of the 81 participants received the drug.

The scientists found that after one year, the participants who received rituximab needed lower doses of insulin and were able to produce more of their own insulin than those who received the placebo. They also had better control of their blood sugar.

Dr. Raskin said researchers do not think rituximab could ever be used to completely reverse type 1 diabetes because the pancreas typically is too damaged by the time diabetes is diagnosed.

He also said that while the exact mechanism of how rituximab affects type 1 diabetes remains unclear, the study clearly shows that a therapy that targets B cells may improve beta-cell function in early type 1 diabetes.

The next step, Dr. Raskin said, is to evaluate the potential effects of rituximab in diabetes.


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Contact: Kristen Holland Shear
kristen.hollandshear@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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FDA-approved drug may slow beta cell destruction in type 1 diabetes patients
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