In a person who has type 1 diabetes (T1D), immune cells destroy the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. During the “honeymoon phase,” though, people with T1D can experience a period in which they are asymptomatic.
The honeymoon phase typically lasts a few months to a year post-diagnosis as—with the help of some injected insulin—a patient’s existing beta cells continue to function normally and produce enough insulin for blood-glucose management. Eventually, the majority of the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas cease functioning and the diabetes symptoms return.
Halting the autoimmune response in people with new onset T1D and those who are at risk is one of the chief areas of research JDRF is focused on. A number of research projects funded by JDRF have shown promise in preserving the function of these existing beta cells in people with T1D past the honeymoon phase.