New Frontiers in the Treatment of Type 1 Diabetes

Cell Metab. 2020 Jan 7;31(1):46-61. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2019.11.017. Epub 2019 Dec 12.


Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease caused by the immune-mediated destruction of pancreatic β cells that results in lifelong absolute insulin deficiency. For nearly a century, insulin replacement has been the only therapy for most people living with this disease. Recent advances in technology and our understanding of β cell development, glucose metabolism, and the underlying immune pathogenesis of the disease have led to innovative therapeutic and preventative approaches. A paradigm shift in immunotherapy development toward the targeting of islet-specific immune pathways involved in tolerance has driven the development of therapies that may allow for the prevention or reversal of this disease while avoiding toxicities associated with historical approaches that were broadly immunosuppressive. In this review, we discuss successes, failures, and emerging pharmacological therapies for type 1 diabetes that are changing how we approach this disease, from improving glycemic control to developing the "holy grail" of disease prevention.

Keywords: autoimmunity; endocrinology; glucose; immunology; immunotherapy; metabolism; type 1 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Immunotherapy / trends