Relatives of type 1 diabetes (T1D) patients are significantly more likely to develop the disease themselves. A recent double-masked, placebo-controlled, randomized trial found that these patients could stave off this diagnosis for as long as two years with immunotherapy. The research was presented at the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA’s) 79th Scientific Sessions at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco.
Family members of T1D patients and those with multiple antibodies and abnormal glucose tolerance were randomized to receive either teplizumab—an FcR non-binding humanized monoclonal anti-CD3 antibody—or placebo. For two weeks, patients received treatment in the form of daily 30-minute intravenous drug infusions.
The study included 76 patients (55 were aged < 18 years); two were lost to follow-up, and 42 received a T1D diagnosis. Overall, 72% of patients in the placebo group were diagnosed with T1D, compared to 43% in the teplizumab group. The teplizumab group also had a reduced annualized diabetes rate of 14.9%, compared to 35.9% in the placebo group. The teplizumab group had an average two-year delay of T1D onset compared to the placebo group.
“This is the first time we have showed that immune therapy can delay progression to type 1 diabetes,” said study investigator Kevan Herold, MD, Professor of Immunobiology and Internal Medicine at Yale University, in a meeting press release. “Type 1 diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood and is also diagnosed among adults. Our results offer great hope to family members and possibly in the future to the general public who may be at risk for developing type 1 diabetes.”