Metformin Can Prevent Type 1 Diabetes: Is It Real?
As lots of as 3 million individuals in the United States (approximately 0.9% of the population) and 400,000 in the United Kingdom (roughly 0.6% of the population) have Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune condition in which the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas are destroyed. (Scotland has the 3rd highest rate of the condition in the world.) For reasons that are not yet understood, levels of the condition have been increasing in recent years.
See also: Type 1 Diabetes by Country
Metformin is the most frequently recommended diabetes medicine worldwide, with more than 80 million prescriptions completed 2015 in the United States alone. It works by reducing the amount of glucose made by the liver and enhancing insulin sensitivity in the liver, muscle, and fat cells, thus safeguarding the beta cells from stress.
Scientists in Scotland think that signals of stress sent out by the beta cells are what start the body immune system attack — instead of an issue with the body immune system, as is typically believed — which eventually leads to Type 1 diabetes, a concept referred to as the “accelerator hypothesis.” Relieving the stress on the beta cells, they think, may stop this chain of occasions.
To identify whether taking metformin can delay the beginning of the condition in at-risk children, the study group at first prepares to get in touch with all 6,400 households in Scotland coping with Type 1 diabetes, later extending into England too. Children who are ages 5 — 16 with a parent or sibling who have Type 1 will be offered a blood test to see if they are at high risk for establishing the condition. Those who are will be welcomed to participate in the research study, referred to as the “autoimmune diabetes Accelerator Prevention Trial (adAPT),” to see if the medicine can delay or avoid the advancement of Type 1 diabetes.
“It is possible that a modern-day environment speeds up the loss of beta cells by exhausting and stressing them,” said Terence Wilkin, MD, MBChB, FRCS, researcher and begetter of the accelerator hypothesis. “As an effect, this might be adding to the rising occurrence of Type 1 diabetes, which is appearing in ever-younger age. adAPT will use a medication to protect the beta cells from stress, so that they can survive longer.”
Children in the trial will either receive metformin or a placebo (inactive treatment) for the first four months, being checked 3 times during this time frame to identify the responses of their metabolisms and immune systems. If metformin is found to lower stress on the beta cells, the children will continue onto the next stages of the trial.
The study, which is at first being funded by JDRF, will take 6 years to finish.
For additional information go to the adAPT site.