The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Tzield, a drug that can delay the onset of stage 3 type 1 diabetes.
“The drug’s potential to delay clinical diagnosis of type 1 diabetes may provide patients with months to years without the burdens of disease," said Dr. John Sharretts, director of the Division of Diabetes, Lipid Disorders, and Obesity in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
The FDA says Tzield works by deactivating the immune cells that attack insulin-producing cells. At the same time, the FDA says it increases the proportion of cells that help moderate the immune response.
The drug is administered through an IV once a day for 14 consecutive days.
The FDA said the most common side effects were decreased levels of certain white blood cells, rash and headache.
According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 2 million people in the country have type 1 diabetes, including 244,000 children and adolescents.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says it's thought to be caused by an autoimmune reaction. The reaction destroys cells in the pancreas that make insulin, the CDC says.