One of the toughest things about Type 1 diabetes – a chronic, incurable autoimmune disease – is that once it begins to develop, there’s no way to stop it. Slowly but surely, your immune system will kill off the cells in your pancreas that produce insulin, a crucial hormone that allows you to absorb the energy (in the form of glucose) from your food. The process can take years, but the end result is always the same: you’ll be entirely dependent on injections of artificial insulin to stay alive. Even though it’s now possible to predict with more than 75 percent accuracy whether someone will develop Type 1 within the next five years, there’s nothing to do with that information but wait.
But a new trial, launched through the National Institutes of Health’s Type 1 Diabetes Trial Net, may change that.