A Diabetes vaccine on the horizon

diabetesScientists from the Technical University of Dresden in Germany have been working for while now in what they claim could be building blocks of an effective vaccine that could prevent the development of diabetes in children. A small pilot study in a group of children with a high risk of developing type 1 diabetes could be the first test of that is possible a immunization against this disease.

According to reports, a treatment with high doses of oral insulin daily, compared with the placebo, it generates an immune response to the insulin without signs of hypoglycemia, data from this study in phase II underline the need to begin a phase 3 trial to determine if the oral insulin can prevent the onset of diabetes in high-risk children and to advance in the possibility of a 'preventive vaccine'.

This study recently appeared published on The Journal of the American Medical Association, and it has captured the attention of several experts in the Diabetes research community. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that can be detected in asymptomatic individuals by the presence of antibodies that develop in children. And one of the approaches to prevent it is the therapy with specific antigens using insulin before that antibodies have been developed to induce protective immune responses that avoid the onset of diabetes 1 in children with genetic risk. It is known that a few specific proteins are often a triggering factor for immune responses that cause autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes. This has led to research on specific therapies of antigen (using a substance to initiate an immune response) to prevent, stabilize or reverse immune diseases, such as allergies, and multiple sclerosis.

Although the study remains in early stages it opens up a possibility that we might be able to soon live in a world were diabetes could be prevented with a vaccine. The research team in Germany performed a study on 25 different children with a genetic predisposition to Type 1 diabetes. They provided randomly these children with a oral insulin doses and others with a placebo in a period of 18 months, in different occasions in both Germany and in the UK. They found that in patients were there was a high amount of insulin dosage there were higher evidences of immunity. Without traces of hypoglycemia.

Researchers want to initiate phase III that will administer the preventive treatment to the greater number of babies that have genetic risk of type 1 diabetes. If the vaccine is successful in the prevention of the disease in the long term, it would open the door to broad coverage with a preventive vaccine.

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