FDA Approves a Drug That Can Delay Type 1 Diabetes for Years Without the Dangers of Insulin
On January 15, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug T1i, a combination of two proteins from the same plant called thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP). TPP is a water-soluble metabolite of thiamine, one of the three vitamins that affect the way the body burns sugar and converts it into energy. But because thiamine itself is required to make the TPP, people who have type one diabetes (T1D) will not need to buy and store TPP.
Instead, they’ll be able to take two pills every day, which is better than the current treatment for T1D: insulin.
The treatment is safe and effective and will be available in the near future. T1i can, in theory, stop the onset of T1D within a few years or decades.
That same month, the FDA approved a drug to prevent complications of pancreatitis, a complication of diabetes that can damage the body from the inside out.
“There have been drugs approved by this agency to treat different diseases, but few drugs have been approved to prevent or treat a disease,” says Dr. Jennifer Nalepa, Chief of the Division of Diabetes Translation and Innovation at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health.
There are plenty of treatments for people with T1D, which can take years to develop. For example, after people are diagnosed, they’re often sent off to an intensive diabetes clinic, where they learn to manage their diabetes through injections, diet, exercise, and insulin injections. The goal is to slow the process of losing the body’s ability to produce insulin to a point where the person can stop the need for insulin injections and eventually stop taking insulin forever.