Learn More About Type 1 Diabetes Research Studies

What is Type 1 diabetes, its Research Studies, and Clinical Trials?

Type 1 diabetes, which is also known as insulin-dependent diabetes, or juvenile diabetes, is a chronic condition in which the pancreas fails to produce sufficient insulin. Type 1 diabetes is described as a condition in which the body makes little or no insulin because the body attacks the pancreas cells, resulting in no insulin in the bloodstream that will allow glucose to enter body cells. When the amount of glucose accumulates in the bloodstream, it causes high blood glucose or sugar.

Type 1 diabetes may be caused by genetics or environmental factors, and even though it appears mainly in childhood and adolescence, this form of diabetes can develop in adults too.

The cause of the development of type 1 diabetes in an individual is unknown. The body's immune system attacks the cells in the pancreas responsible for making insulin. Since insulin lets glucose enters body cells, the absence of this hormone deprives cells of energy and nutrition while leading to a buildup of glucose in the bloodstream. To overcome this problem, people with type 1 diabetes must take daily insulin shots and check their blood glucose levels.

Type 1 Diabetes Research Studies

The onset of type 1 diabetes symptoms can be very sudden. Typical symptoms include:

  • Frequent urine passing
  • Extreme hunger
  • Loss of weight
  • Unusual thirst
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Irritability.

The symptoms of type 1 diabetes resemble those of flu or other conditions, so it is recommended to see a healthcare professional so that a proper diagnosis is provided.

The research to find a cure for type 1 diabetes has a long history. Multiple clinical trials and type 1 diabetes research studies are directed at managing blood sugar amounts using diet modifications, insulin, and lifestyle changes. Treatment methods are focused on preventing the development of complications.

Why Is Type 1 diabetes Being Studied Through Clinical Trials?

More than 60,000 people are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes each year. Approximately 1.45 million Americans are living with the disease, and the numbers are expected to rise to 2.1 million by 2040.

Type 1 diabetes research studies are underway in search of better management of the disease. Furthermore, researchers are finding other ways for insulin delivery, such as through pills, pumps and inhalers. Many research studies have indicated type 1 diabetes genetic markers, which results in predictions of future experimental treatments' effectiveness.

The focal point of type 1 diabetes research studies is to stop the body's destruction of pancreatic beta cells. These cells are responsible for insulin production, and when the immune system attacks them, it leads to type 1 diabetes.

The research studies for the past 30 years have pointed towards genetic factors and autoimmunity evidence for the development of this disease. Type 1 diabetes is being studied through clinical trials for a better ability to identify potential diabetic patients in the future and the development of new drug agents that will prevent beta cell loss.

Three trial stages have been conducted for the purpose of beta cell loss prevention:

  • Primary Prevention Trials: Primary prevention focuses on including dietary manipulations as a treatment in infants having a high genetic risk of developing type 1 diabetes. Primary prevention is directed at individuals before developing metabolic impairment or autoimmune diseases.
  • Secondary Prevention Trials: These trials target individuals after autoantibodies are found. These trials involve antigen-specific therapies like oral and nasal insulin, parenteral insulin, or intradermal proinsulin peptides administration.
  • Tertiary Prevention Trials: The Tertiary Prevention Trials involve intervening in disease progression after its diagnosis and maintaining remaining beta-pancreatic cells.

Several type 1 diabetes research studies have created study designs and intervention choices that will pave the way for future investigations and hope for a better cure or treatment of type 1 diabetes.

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What Are The Types of Treatments Available For Type 1 diabetes?

To ensure that the symptoms are indeed characteristics of type 1 diabetes, several tests are done, which are as follows:


Hemoglobin A1C is a test that measures the average blood glucose in an individual for the past two to three months. The HbA1C level in type 1 diabetes-diagnosed patients is greater than or equal to 6.5%.

Fasting Plasma Glucose

The fasting plasma glucose test is a simple and fast way to check blood glucose levels and diagnose type 1 diabetes. If the fasting blood glucose levels are equal to or great than 126 mg/dl, then diabetes is diagnosed.

Random Glucose Test

This test measures blood glucose levels regardless of when the individual last ate. This testing is useful as healthy people have blood glucose levels that do not fluctuate or vary throughout the day. Type 1 diabetes is diagnosed if the blood glucose levels are equal to or greater than 200 mg/dl.

Oral glucose tolerance test

The oral glucose tolerance test determines the body's response to glucose. The 2-hour test checks the glucose before and after an individual consumes a drink with sugar. If the blood glucose levels are equal to or greater than 200 mg/dl, then the individual has diabetes.

C-peptide test

The C-peptide test is an accurate way of finding out how much insulin the body is making. It measures C-peptide levels in a blood or urine sample.

After the diagnostic tests are carried out, the healthcare providers check hemoglobin A1C levels and determine a treatment plan according to age, medical history, overall health, and medication and therapy preference.

Typical treatment for type 1 diabetes includes taking daily insulin shots so that the patient's blood sugar levels lie in normal ranges. Other treatment protocols include:

  • Eating a suitable diet that manages blood sugar levels.
  • Monitoring blood sugar levels many times a day or as directed by the healthcare provider.
  • Adjusting the meals and insulin dose according to the blood sugar levels.
  • Exercising helps the body use up blood glucose efficiently.
  • Having regular HbA1C testing.

Treatments for Type 1 diabetic patients

Patients who have type 1 diabetes need to take insulin to manage the sugar levels in their blood.

Insulin Pumps

Insulin pumps are better alternatives to insulin pens as it gives the patients better management of their diabetes.

Islet cell Transplant

In pancreatic islet transplantation, islets with healthy beta cells are taken from the pancreas, and then the healthy cells are injected into the vein of the receiver that carries blood to the liver. Thus these islets begin making and releasing insulin in the recipient.

What Are Some Recent Breakthrough Clinical Trials For Type 1 diabetes?

The major goals of the American Diabetes Association and other researchers are to improve the lives of patients with type 1 diabetes worldwide and to dedicate research budgets for relevant projects that will lead to a promising future for a better cure or treatment for type 1 diabetes.

2016: A recently published paper by Zhen Gu, Ph.D., discusses the testing of a new "smart insulin patch" that will put an end to painful insulin injections that millions of people have to suffer from every day. This new intervention in standardized treatments produced a painless patch with microneedles packed with microscopic insulin storage units. The glucose-sensing enzymes detect blood sugar levels and release insulin wherever needed.

2016: A team of researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine identified triggers for type 1 diabetes autoimmunity. They found a new class of antigens that can contribute to type 1 diabetes, as the major question during type 1 diabetes research studies is why the body's immune system attacks its own tissues. The researchers determined that if the protein fragments are modified, they act as foreign entities to the immune system, which is why the body targets and destroys them. Thus, this study will better understand type 1 diabetes and other autoimmune diseases.

2021: A new breakthrough therapy treatment for type 1 diabetes by Harvard Stem Cell Institute has developed VX-880, a novel investigational stem-cell derived, insulin-producing islet cell therapy. This fully differentiated stem cell-derived therapy replaces damaged pancreatic cells with healthy insulin-producing cells. This research is being conducted in conjunction with immunosuppressive therapy, as the new cells are also at risk of being destroyed. The promising results from stem-cell-derived therapy will make way for better type 1 diabetes patient treatment in the future.

Who Are Some Of The Key Opinion Leaders / Researchers / Institutions Conducting Type 1 Diabetes Clinical Trial Research?

Countless research studies and clinical trials are being conducted for the treatment and disease management of type 1 diabetes. However, the following resources make important discoveries and provide premium knowledge about the trials conducted in a specific area.

American Diabetes Association

American Diabetes Association is on a mission to improve and save many lives affected by diabetes. ADA leads the fight against this relentless disease and its deadly consequences and funds many research projects to manage, prevent and cure diabetes.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) supports many research projects that give breakthrough insights into the clinical trials for diabetes and other conditions.

Professor Paul Zimmet

Professor Paul Zimmet is a professor of diabetes at Monash University. He founded the International Diabetes Institute in 1984 and has a record of extensive research related to diabetes and obesity. He has been a leading figure in transforming the treatment of diabetes from a minor disease to a major concern of government health policies.

Dr. Jaakko Tuomilehto

Dr. Jaakko Tuomilehto, a professor at the University of Helsinki, Finland, has been affiliated with World Health Organization, NIHW in Helsinki, Finland, and King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. His research interests involve the epidemiology of non-communicable diseases such as CVD, dementia, cancer, and diabetes. He has conducted many scientific research projects, including studies of the role of genetic factors in diabetes.


ClinicalTrials.gov is a database of privately and federally supported type 1 diabetes clinical trials across the USA and worldwide. ClinicalTrials.gov provides information about the trial's purpose, location, who can participate, and other information.

The National Institutes of Health

The National Institutes of Health or NIH is USA's medical research agency and makes important discoveries regarding medical disorders and other diseases to improve millions of lives worldwide.