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Immunotherapy delays type 1 diabetes diagnosis in people at high risk says study

By Editor
10th June 2019
Charity, Research Type 1 diabetes

A drug that targets the immune system can delay type 1 diabetes for a median of two years in children and adults at high risk, according to findings from a mid-stage trial.

The research was presented on June 9 at the 2019 American Diabetes Association’s 79th Scientific Sessions and published in the New England Journal of Medicine findings from TrialNet’s Teplizumab (anti-CD3) Prevention Study

The TrialNet research has been funded by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), primarily through the Special Diabetes Program, with additional support from JDRF.

Professor Kevan Herold, TrialNet Teplizumab Prevention Study Chair, who is a Professor of Immunobiology and Internal Medicine at Yale University, said: “This is the first study to show any drug can delay type 1 diabetes diagnosis a median of 2 years in people at high risk. As anyone with type 1 diabetes will tell you, and particularly for children who are most commonly affected, every day you can delay this disease is important.”

All study participants were relatives of people with type 1 diabetes who had two or more autoantibodies and abnormal blood sugar levels as identified by TrialNet’s Pathway to Prevention study. These individuals are thought to have a lifetime risk of clinical diagnosis nearing 100%. Of the 76 high risk individuals who participated in the study, 55 were under age 18.

Karen Addington, UK Chief Executive of type 1 diabetes research charity JDRF, said: “Type 1 diabetes can be tough. We want a cure for those already living with type 1. But we also want to prevent this condition ever developing in those at risk. Learning how to delay onset is the first step.

“Today’s discovery proves the impact of our type 1 diabetes research programme, which is funded by our supporters. My thanks to each and every one of those supporters and to our research partners. We will not waver in our mission to eradicate type 1 diabetes.”

Dr Aaron J. Kowalski, JDRF President and international CEO, added: “These results and the potential impact to people living with type 1 diabetes and their families is exactly why JDRF funds prevention research.”

“Delaying the progression of the disease is an essential and impactful step toward the prevention, and ultimately a cure for type one, as a delay in diagnosis is likely to have long-term benefits on glycemic control and the development of acute and long-term complications of type 1 diabetes.”

TrialNet has several other immune therapy trials aiming to delay type 1 diabetes.

TrialNet Chair Dr Carla Greenbaum, Director of the Diabetes Research Program at Benaroya Research Institute in Seattle, said: “In addition to being able to accurately predict who will develop T1D, we have now found a way to delay it. This is an incredible advancement that gets us one step closer to our ultimate goal: a future without T1D. Relatives are urged to get screened for risk at TrialNet.org.”

The Teplizumab Prevention Study was primarily funded by NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), and JDRF. MacroGenics/Provention Bio donated the study drug and provided funds for additional site monitoring.

Picture credit: Louis Reed

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