Psoriasis drug shows promise in type 1 diabetes treatment, according to a study. Psoriasis and type 1 diabetes are autoimmune disorders, and the drug alefacept works to suppress the immune system, which is often overactive in immune disorders. Alefacept was pulled in 2001 due to “business needs,” so it is no longer used to treat psoriasis.
The study involved 49 patients with type 1 diabetes, where 33 patients received weekly injections of alefacept for 12 weeks, rested for 12 weeks, and then received another drug for another 12 weeks. Sixteen other patients received a placebo on a similar schedule.
The study aimed to determine how well the pancreas would release insulin in response to food two hours after eating. Based on this method, the researchers did not see any differences in either group.
The researchers uncovered, however, that differences were seen up to four hours after eating. Those who received alefacept maintained insulin secretion, while those on the placebo saw decreases in insulin. Furthermore, those on the psoriasis drug saw no increases in insulin during the clinical trial, but those on the placebo did.
Study lead Mark Rigby said, “Alefacept is the first targeted biological drug assessed in patients with new-onset type 1 diabetes that significantly depleted the T cells that attack the pancreas in type 1 diabetes, while preserving other immune cells that are important for pancreatic function.”
Dr. Spyros Mezitis, an endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital not involved in the study, commented, “[The trial] is an important prospective study that shows a psoriasis drug altering the T-cell balance and helping to control diabetes type 1. Alefacept, by increasing the T-cells that prevent attack and depleting the T-cells that attack the pancreatic beta cells, resulted in more insulin production in newly diagnosed type 1 diabetics.”
“Although studies of longer duration and with more patients are required to confirm these data, bioresearchers are finding new ways to alter the immune response and stop type 1 diabetes,” Mezitis concluded.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder, meaning – unlike type 2 diabetes – lifestyle factors are not contributing factors. In autoimmune disorders, the body mistakenly attacks itself, causing malfunction. In the case of type 1 diabetes, the pancreas does not produce insulin, so patients require insulin shots.
Managing type 1 diabetes can pose a challenge, because it is difficult to determine how much insulin the body may need. There are many factors that can affect insulin levels, including food, exercise, stress, emotions, and overall health. Furthermore, there are risks when trying to find the perfect level of insulin. If you take too much, then your body may use it too quickly, causing a drastic dip in glucose levels. If you take too little, your body can be starving for energy, causing blood sugar to rise drastically, which can contribute to long-term complications.
Although living with type 1 diabetes may be difficult, it is possible. There are a few factors that need to be well controlled in order to manage type 1 diabetes effectively: medication, exercise, and nutrition. These factors can be discussed with your doctor to ensure you are on the right path in order to reduce your risk of complications.
Properly managing diabetes on your own may be difficult, so it’s also important to have a good support system, either with friends, family, health experts, or even others with type 1 diabetes you can relate to.
Type 1 diabetes is a life-long condition, but as long as you have the right tools to manage it, you can live a successful life.
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