Gleevec is being studied as a therapy for type 1 diabetes (T1D).
The research study aims to determine if Gleevec can slow or stop the autoimmune destruction of insulin-producing beta cells in those who are newly diagnosed with T1D. Based on previous observations in animals and people, study doctors believe that Gleevec may function in several different ways to benefit people with diabetes.
It may have direct effects on:
- the immune system
- the insulin-producing beta cells themselves
- insulin sensitivity – improving the way the body responds to insulin
When a person has an autoimmune disease – such as T1D, rheumatoid arthritis or Crohn’s disease – the body’s immune system attacks their own healthy cells and tissues. For T1D, the goal is to find a therapy that can be taken for a limited period of time that will fundamentally change the autoimmune response so that ongoing immune therapy is not necessary for the body to be able to preserve and make its own insulin-producing beta cells.