National Psoriasis Foundation


One-time Psoriasis Drug Could Treat Type 1 Diabetes

A drug that was used to treat psoriasis may be an effective treatment for type 1 diabetes, according to a recent study.

According to the study, published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, researchers used the biologic drug Amevive (alefacept) to help maintain insulin secretion in patients with type 1 diabetes. In the study, 33 people with type 1 diabetes received the drug, while 16 did not. Those who received Amevive were able to maintain insulin levels better after eating food than those who did not.

Amevive works by blocking the activation of white blood cells called T cells. Typically, T cells help fight infection, but in people with psoriasis the T cells travel to the skin and attack healthy skin as if it has an infection or wound. In people with type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

Astellas Pharma US, Inc., stopped producing Amevive in 2011. Astellas Pharma US, Inc. stopped sales during a supply disruption, but said it was not due to a FDA recall or voluntary recall. However, the drug has been associated with an increased risk for certain types of cancer, according to the FDA.

September 26, 2013

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