Type 1 diabetes affects millions of people globally and requires careful management to avoid serious long-term complications, including heart and kidney disease, stroke, and loss of sight. The type 1 diabetes patient cohort is highly heterogeneous, with individuals presenting with disease at different stages and severities, arising from distinct etiologies, and overlaying varied genetic backgrounds. At present, the "one-size-fits-all" treatment for type 1 diabetes is exogenic insulin substitution therapy, but this approach fails to achieve optimal blood glucose control in many individuals. With advances in our understanding of early-stage diabetes development, diabetes stratification, and the role of genetics, type 1 diabetes is a promising candidate for a personalized medicine approach, which aims to apply "the right therapy at the right time, to the right patient". In the case of type 1 diabetes, great efforts are now being focused on risk stratification for diabetes development to enable pre-clinical detection, and the application of treatments such as gene therapy, to prevent pancreatic destruction in a sub-set of patients. Alongside this, breakthroughs in stem cell therapies hold great promise for the regeneration of pancreatic tissues in some individuals. Here we review the recent initiatives in the field of personalized medicine for type 1 diabetes, including the latest discoveries in stem cell and gene therapy for the disease, and current obstacles that must be overcome before the dream of personalized medicine for all type 1 diabetes patients can be realized.
Keywords: Autoimmunity; Gene polymorphism; Gene therapy; Genomic Risk Score; Insulin therapy; Pancreatic β cells; Personalized medicine; Personalized treatment; Stem cells; Type 1 diabetes.