The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday approved the first drug that delays the onset of a stage of Type 1 diabetes.
“Today’s approval of a first-in-class therapy adds an important new treatment option for certain at-risk patients,” said John Sharretts, the director of the Division of Diabetes, Lipid Disorders and Obesity in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, in an announcement.
“The drug’s potential to delay clinical diagnosis of type 1 diabetes may provide patients with months to years without the burdens of disease.”
Injections of the diabetes drug Tzield are now approved for use to delay the onset of stage 3 Type 1 diabetes among adults and children 8 years and older who have stage 2 of the disease.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when immune cells are triggered to attack and destroy cells producing insulin. The disease progresses into stage 3 when a person has lost a significant proportion of their insulin-producing cells.
Tzield binds to immune system cells and is thought to possibly deactivate the dysfunctional cells attacking insulin-producing cells, thereby moderating the body’s immune response.
Patients who suffer from Type 1 diabetes can be treated with Tzield by receiving injections of the drug daily for 14 days.
Side effects of Tzield may include decreased white blood cell levels, rash and headache, according to the FDA.