An immunotherapy treatment attempt has started in London which targets to halt the progression of type 1 diabetes.
The study is recruiting 24 volunteers for the Biomedical Research Center at Guy’s hospital.
The insulin-making cells are usually destroyed by the immune system in type 1 diabetes. Insulin is required for the control of sugar levels in blood. The scientists hope that the treatment will retain or reset the immune system.
The patients that are being recruited are the ones that were at one time diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and that means that there is still presence of beta cells which are usually found in the pancreas and are the ones which make insulin.
Prof Mark Peakman, King’s College London, who is leading the trial, said: “If we get in with this therapy early enough we may be able to protect the beta cells that remain in those patients so that they continue to make some of their own insulin which would give them better control of blood glucose and mean their risk of future complications of diabetes is reduced.”
The first volunteer to get the MultiPepT1De injection is a 20-year-old Natalie Worrall.
In 2014, she got diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and she has to be injected with insulin 4 times a day so as to stabilize glucose levels in her blood. She hopes that the injections will the progression of type1 diabetes and let her live a normal life.
Another volunteer, Aleix Rowlandson, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2015.
She said that she was hugely shocked when she learnt that she has type 1. She therefore decided to take part in something that may help find cure in the future.
All the volunteers will be availed with 6 injections within a operiod of 4 weeks.
The immune system of a healthy person consists of a complex mechanism that checks and balances everything so that harmful pathogens are destroyed – but not healthy tissues. The T regulatory cells have a role in this which suppresses immune response not to attack the body.
Peptides are contained in the injections. These are small protein molecules found in insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas.
It is hoped these will prompt T regulatory cells in the immune system to mount a protective response to the beta cells, so re-training the immune system.