Diabetes type 1, like many other diseases, is caused by the immune system attacking the body’s own cells, resulting in a certain function of one’s body being degraded. With T1D, the main issue is that the body’s beta cells, which are responsible for creating insulin, are destroyed, meaning that one has to control their blood sugar levels through insulin injections.
However, the body attacks several other targets, including glutamate decarboxylase, IA-2, zinc transporter-8, and as only recently discovered, tetraspanin-7. While these names are hardly of any significance to most people, they are mainly compounds responsible for secreting or storing insulin, the hormone that controls blood sugar levels, and could be key to discovering the cause of type 1 diabetes. In fact, these new findings are already being used in a trial aiming to stop the development of type 1 diabetes at King’s College London.
Source: Final piece of type 1 diabetes puzzle solved by James Gallagher, BBC News