Autoimmune type 1 diabetes is strongly associated with a number of immune abnormalities that manifest themselves before and at the time of clinical diagnosis. The clinical onset is associated with a major loss of the pancreatic islet beta cells. Insulin treatment is the only treatment option since numerous trials with agents that suppress or modulate immune function have failed to preserve beta cell function long term. Recent studies suggest that it is possible to predict clinical onset of diabetes by combining genetic with autoantibody testing. In this review we will summarize current and future drug targets for subjects at risk for type 1 diabetes as well as for subjects with recent onset disease. We will also discuss the possible importance of initiating as well as contributing factors such as reactive oxygen species and modified autoantigens. It is speculated that drug targets of factors important to disease pathogenesis may provide safe and effective adductive treatment to preserve beta cell function in autoantibody positive subjects who are at maximum risk for disease.
Keywords: variable number tandem repeat (VNTR), CTLA-4, Viral infections, Cadmium, Oxidative Stress, antioxidant
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