Acta Diabetologica

, Volume 55, Issue 2, pp 117–120 | Cite as

The shifting paradigm of a “cure” for type 1 diabetes: is technology replacing immune-based therapies?

  • Jeremy PettusEmail author
  • Matthias Von Herrath


Nearly 50 years after the autoimmune nature of type 1 diabetes was discovered, no therapy has been approved to alter the course of the disease at any stage. However, during that same period, technology has been delivering tools to help patients achieve better glycemic control and reduce the burden of the disease. With the imminent arrival of fully automated artificial pancreas systems that will continue to improve control and quality of life, it appears that we are on the verge of a major technological breakthrough that will significantly impact diabetes care. These devices have such a high degree of potential that they are, at times, mentioned as a virtual cure for the disease—a first for technology in this space. As such, these devices will undoubtedly alter the research landscape in a field that has predominantly been occupied by immunotherapies. This article reviews the history of type 1 diabetes and compares and contrasts the advancements that have come from the world of technology and immunology alike at this important crossroads in care that we are currently in.


Type 1 diabetes Artificial pancreas Immunotherapies 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

J Pettus was a consultant for Novo Nordisk, Sanofi, Mannkind, Insulet. He received research support from JDRF, Viacyte. M. Von Herrath was an employee for Novo Nordisk.

Human and animal rights statement

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by the any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia S.r.l. 2017, part of Springer Nature (outside the USA) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MedicineUniversity of California, San DiegoSan DiegoUSA
  2. 2.Type 1 Diabetes CenterLa Jolla Institute for Allergy and ImmunologyLa JollaUSA
  3. 3.Novo Nordisk Diabetes Research and Development CenterSeattleUSA
  4. 4.Clinical and Translational Research InstituteUniversity of California, San DiegoLa JollaUSA

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