In their latest research, scientists have made a remarkable discovery regarding the potential of the weight loss drug semaglutide in the treatment of Type 1 diabetes. This revelation has left the researchers astonished at the therapeutic possibilities of this medication.
Semaglutide, known by its trade names Ozempic and Wegovy, gained popularity last year for its weight loss effects. Ozempic is primarily used to treat Type 2 diabetes, while Wegovy is prescribed for weight loss.
The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, involved an analysis of data from 10 individuals diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes who were administered the drug. Remarkably, all participants ceased the need for insulin shots with meals, and within six months, seven out of ten completely eliminated their reliance on insulin.
Lead author Dr. Paresh Dandona, referring to the two types of insulin – fast-acting and long-acting, expressed his astonishment: “I was absolutely shocked that we could get rid of fast-acting insulin in three months and then basal insulin in seven out of 10 patients.” He likened the results to something out of science fiction.
It’s important to note that the challenges and causes of diabetes differ between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. In Type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the beta cells responsible for producing insulin, which is necessary to transport sugar from the blood into cells for energy. Thus, individuals with Type 1 diabetes require insulin injections since their bodies no longer produce it.
On the other hand, in Type 2 diabetes, the pancreas’ beta cells do not produce sufficient insulin, and the body also exhibits insulin resistance, where it does not respond effectively to insulin. Treatment approaches vary accordingly.
Dr. Dandona is enthusiastic about the potential of semaglutide to transform Type 1 diabetes treatment, stating, “I’m very excited about this. I believe it’s going to change the shape of treatment of Type 1 diabetes.” He emphasized the need for a larger study and mentioned that he has already assembled a team of diabetes researchers from various centers for this purpose, contingent upon securing funding.
While experts have commended these preliminary findings, they stress the importance of conducting further and larger studies before making treatment recommendations. Dr. Michael Natter, an endocrinologist at NYU Langone Health, cautioned against making substantial claims based on a small, non-controlled study, emphasizing the need for more extensive research.
Dr. Vanita Aroda, director of diabetes clinical research at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, praised the focus on newly diagnosed patients in the study, calling it “brilliant.” She described the results as striking and called for larger studies to be conducted, underscoring the urgency of exploring the potential benefits of such therapies for individuals with Type 1 diabetes.