World’s First Therapy to Prevent Type 1 Diabetes Begins Clinical Trials in U.K.

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By : Suvarna Sheth

A ground-breaking clinical trial for an investigational Type 1 diabetes therapy is underway in Cardiff, U.K.

The drug could manage, and possibly prevent, the autoimmune disease that affects approximately 1.25 million Americans children and adults.

The Clinical Research Facility at Cardiff and Vale University Health announced it has dosed the first two patients in the world with the new investigational drug.

The researchers hope the drug will work by re-growing insulin-producing “beta” cells of the pancreas, which are lost in patients living with the disease. Those with Type 1 diabetes are dependent on insulin.

Mohammad Ali, Alex Howell, Rachel Stenson, Jessie Powell, Omabe Obasi, Liz Jackson.

“Despite everything achieved in diabetes care, advances in prevention haven’t really occurred,” says Dr. Mohammad Alhadj Ali, who is a sub-investigator of the study.

“More insulin-producing beta cells are needed for those with this form of diabetes and it is estimated that 90% of patients with Type 1 diabetes have less than 5% of insulin-making cells left,” he explains.

If this clinical trial works, the regrowth of beta cells may mean those with Type 1 diabetes may have to be less dependent on insulin injections.

“I’m really grateful that I was given the opportunity to take part in this study,” said one of the patients in a Cardiff and Vale University news release. “I hope that my participation will help with the management of Type 1 diabetes for future generations.”

So far, researchers say the drug appears to have had no major side-effects, but it is too early to say if it has been effective.

The results of this innovative trial in diabetes treatment could be ground-breaking and are part of a wider program of studies to preserve and regrow the insulin-making cells in Type 1 diabetes being pursued by the Cardiff team, with trials in both adults and children.

Cardiff’s research team is hoping to enroll up to eight adult volunteers, who have had Type 1 diabetes for two years, to take part in the clinical trial. For more information and to get involved, visit T1DUK.