Medical professionals invest in antibody research
Molecular biology has become one of the most promising medical branches with regard to the prevention and the cure of serious diseases. One of the most widely spread diseases of our civilization is diabetes, and researchers are constantly searching for ways to cope with the symptoms and to find the source of the disease in our human biological system. Antibody research has brought some light into the darkness.
Diabetes: a serious and lifelong disease
Diabetes, or more correctly diabetes mellitus, is the term describing a metabolic disease leading to high blood sugar which can be life-threatening. It can affect people in two different ways. Either, the person has it due to an inherited loss of insulin-producing beta cells (called type one), or the person gets it through an acquired resistance to insulin, which is also the more common form (diabetes type two). In recent years, researchers have developed new approaches to prevent at least diabetes type one through an antibody therapy.
Antibody therapies for people suffering from diabetes
Antibodies are produced by the human body to fight invading substances like bacteria and viruses. They are able to neutralize, and thus to make ineffective, these invaders through an antigen-antibody reaction. Yet, in some cases antibodies – called auto-antibodies – recognize the human tissue as enemies and begin to destroy them – in case of diabetes that is the B cells producing the insulin in the pancreas. If they are destroyed, no insulin is produced to help the cells take up the glucose from the blood and to store it as glycogen inside their tissues. One type of antibody therapy, which has been tested on mice predisposed to diabetes, began with depleting the B cells in mice through a medication usually applied in case of arthritis. After the therapy, the mice developed new B cells which were less likely to produce auto-antibodies. Thus, researchers think that the medication, as it stops the production of destructive antibodies, leads to a renewal of the immune system.