“Our research shows that very low doses of anticancer drugs used to treat lymphoma - so-called lysine deacetylase inhibitors - can reset the immune response to not attack the insulin-producing cells," said Dan Ploug Christensen, first author of the study.

"We find fewer immune cells in the pancreas, and more insulin is produced when we give the medicine in the drinking water to mice that would otherwise develop type 1 diabetes," said Christensen, who carried out the experimental work at the University of Copenhagen.

“Our results are a step towards developing a preventive treatment for type 1 diabetes. It works by blocking the molecules that send the harmful inflammation signals into the insulin-producing cells. In doing so, it prevents the cells from producing a number of factors which contribute to destroying the cells when exposed to inflammation," Christensen added.

The researchers subjected insulin-producing tissue from organ donors to the inflammation signals and showed that cancer medicine also delays the destruction of human cells.

The study also included researchers from the Technical University of Denmark and the University of Southern Denmark working with researchers in Belgium, Italy, Canada, Netherlands and US.

The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


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