In type 1 diabetes, the immune system has turned off the insulin-producing cells. This immune response cannot be stopped yet. But researchers have an exciting idea: that they might be able to weaken the immune response with the help of gut bacteria.
A research team will now study this further, led by Prof. Max Nieuwdorp (Amsterdam UMC) and Dr Nordin Hanssen. The Diabetes Fund and the DON foundation are funding this research with 1 million euros.
Intestinal flora different in type 1 diabetes
The intestines contain many bacteria, yeasts and viruses: the 'microbiome'. This appears to play a role in sugar metabolism and the immune system. People with type 1 diabetes have a different microbiome composition. The immune system in the intestines also looks different.
Poo transplant offers an opportunity
The Amsterdam UMC has already conducted an exploratory study into poo transplantation (transfer of bacteria) in the small intestine of people with type 1 diabetes. This study will be published this month in the journal Gut.
This follow-up research examines, among other things, whether treatment with intestinal bacteria makes the immune system less aggressive towards the own body, in people who have only recently or already had type 1 diabetes. The new research consists of two studies and will last five years.
Possibly a whole new treatment for type 1 diabetes
Prof. Nieuwdorp: 'We want to' polish up 'the pancreas function of people with type 1 diabetes a little by means of a faeces (faeces) transplant. This would enable us to give a patient a more stable disease, with fewer glucose peaks and troughs and therefore fewer diabetes complications. Ultimately, this could potentially lead to new treatment, and hopefully a cure or reversal of type 1 diabetes, even if people have had the disease for some time. I am very optimistic about this. Also because I am convinced that the research will help to better understand the cause of type 1 diabetes. It will help solve the puzzle. '