Experts from Cardiff University’s School of Medicine and King’s College London have teamed up with leading Type 1 diabetes charity JDRF and the Australian Health and Medical Research Council in a clinical trial which aims to slow or halt the process that destroys the insulin-making cells in Type 1 diabetes.
Mark Peakman, Professor of Clinical Immunology at King’s, is developing the vaccine approach. He says, “In my laboratory we spent many years gaining a better understanding of what goes wrong with the balance of the immune system in patients developing Type 1 diabetes. We eventually hit upon the idea that we could try to revert the damaging response by inducing a protective one; so it’s a vaccine with a difference.”
Colin Dayan, Professor of Clinical Diabetes and Metabolism at Cardiff, who is leading the trial adds, “We believe that this immune-based therapy can slow or stop the body from damaging its own insulin-making cells in the pancreas. Research to date shows that the treatment is safe, but we are in the early days and need to learn more about how it works in people with newly diagnosed Type 1 diabetes. If effective, we can develop further treatments for individuals who are at risk of developing this type of diabetes later in life.”
Professor Dayan is actively recruiting into the study. “We are looking for adult volunteers who have been recently diagnosed with Type 1 and may have only just started insulin treatment. Taking part involves having vaccination-type injections under the skin every two weeks for 6 months and giving blood and urine samples.”
The trial is currently recruiting at four UK hospitals: University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff; Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London; Bristol Royal Infirmary and Royal Victoria Hospital, Newcastle. The trial, called MonoPepT1De receives additional support via the National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals and King’s College London.