An immunotherapy drug proven to delay the development of type 1 diabetes has been approved by regulators in the USA.
According to experts, teplizumab is “game-changing” marking a new era in treatment of type 1 diabetes.
It works by reprogramming the immune system to stop it mistakenly attacking pancreatic cells which produce insulin.
Previously, experts said only symptoms could be controlled or treated, but with this new drug they can tackle the root cause of the condition for the first time.
About 8.7 million people have type 1 diabetes worldwide, this study will pave way for approval decisions in other countries.
In type 1 diabetes, the immune system mistakenly attacks key cells in the pancreas which produce insulin.
Insulin is crucial, helping the body use sugar for energy, and most current treatments focus on people checking their blood sugars and taking insulin – by injection or infusion – every day.
The approved drug delayed some people at elevated risk of the condition from developing it for an average of three years according to a trial in 2019.
Experts say this delay can be incredibly significant, particularly for young people who would not have to take daily insulin or monitor their sugars as intensively for that period of time.