Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects the bodies ability to metabolise food. Individuals with diabetes fail to make sifficient insulin, or cannnot utilise insulin made in the body efficiently to break down sugar.
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease that results in destruction of the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas. The resulting insulin deficiency leads to rising blood glucose levels that over time can lead to a range of complications involving the heart, eyes, kidneys, nerves, gums and teeth. Approximately 5-10% of diebetes patients have type 1.
T1D may debut at any age but it usually begins in childhood or early adulthood, and is fatal if untreated. Symptoms usually develop rapidly and patients are required to take insulin every day. The standard current treatment is regular blood glucose monitoring and subcutaneous administration of modified human insulin expressed in heterologous hosts, e.g., E. coli.
The exact genetic causes of T1D are currently unknown, as the disease is multifactorial, but several risk factors have been identified, with certain variants of the HLA-DQA1, HLA-DQB1, and HLA-DRB1 genes being associated with the disease.