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Game-changing type 1 diabetes drug approved in US

A "game-changing" immunotherapy drug proven to delay the development of type 1 diabetes has been approved by regulators in the USA. Experts say teplizumab marks a "new era" in treatment, tackling the root cause of the condition for the first time, rather than just the symptoms. It works by reprogramming the immune system to stop it mistakenly attacking pancreatic cells which produce insulin. It is likely to pave the way for approval decisions in other countries. About 8.7 million people have type 1 diabetes worldwide. In the UK the condition affects 400,000 people, including more than 29,000 children. In type 1 diabetes, the immune system (that normally fights off bacteria and viruses) 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. In 2019, a trial showed the drug delayed some people at high risk of the condition from developing it for an average of two years. Experts say this delay can be very significant, particularly for young people who would not have to take daily insulin or monitor their sugars as intensively for that period of time. They suggest people could also spend more years with their blood sugars in a healthy range, offering more time to be protected from the complications of high blood sugars such as kidney or eye disease.


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