A drug that targets the immune system can delay Type 1 diabetes on average by two years in children and adults at high risk, according to findings from TrialNet’s Teplizumab (anti-CD3) Prevention Study in the US.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas, causing abnormal blood sugar) levels. Teplizumab interferes with the body’s immune destruction of its own beta cells and, while previous studies showed Teplizumab prolonged insulin production in people recently diagnosed, this is the first study to test it in people at high risk for the condition.
All 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%.
TrialNet, the largest clinical trial network assembled to change the course of Type 1 diabetes, also has several other immune therapy trials aiming to delay the condition. This research was funded by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), primarily through the Special Diabetes Program, with additional support from JDRF.