June 26, 2013

Root Cause of T1D Discovered

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root_T1DDr. Paolo Fiorina was looking for the molecular pathway that triggers diabetes, with the ultimate goal of finding a permanent cure. “In order to truly cure diabetes, we needed to pinpoint exactly why this happens. And then prevent it,” Fiorina says.

Upon that premise, Dr. Fiorina and his team found the root cause of T1D: ATP/P2X7R, which triggers the T-cell attacks on the insulin producing cells in the pancreas.

“By identifying the ATP/P2X7R pathway as the early mechanism in the body that fires up an alloimmune response, we found the root cause of diabetes,” says Fiorina. “With the cause identified, we can now focus on treatment options. Everything from drug therapies to transplants that require less immunosuppression is being explored.”

The optimism of curtailing the future of T1D diagnosis is palpable in the words of Dr. Fiorina. He says, “if the right screening techniques for diabetes could be developed, it would be entirely possible in many cases that we could prevent the disease from ever developing in children. The future of diabetes treatment is very exciting.”

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