04/23/2010 - Articles

Antibody treatment for type 1 diabetes enters trial

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD

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Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, in which the patient’s immune system attacks the beta-cells in the pancreas which normally produce insulin. Without insulin, blood sugar levels rise and damage many parts of the body. Therefore, the patient with type 1 diabetes is dependent on insulin, either by injection or by pump, for life. Type 1 diabetes often leads to complications like kidney failure, blindness and heart disease, despite insulin treatment.

In a new approach to type 1 diabetes, the US biotechnology company XOMA has been developing an antibody that blocks interleukin-1-beta, a molecule involved in the destruction of beta-cells by an inflammatory process. There is recent evidence that the destruction of beta-cells continues during the course of type 1 diabetes. If this could be stopped, through this antibody’s action, then maybe the beta-cells could regenerate normal function. A Phase II clinical trial of the antibody has just been launched, backed by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, the largest patient advocacy organization for type 1 diabetes in the world. The trial will involve 24 patients with type 1 diabetes, who will receive either the XOMA antibody or a placebo and will have the impact on beta-cell functioning and insulin production monitored over six months. This is the first ever clinical trial to set out to show the impact of reducing inflammation on the course of type 1 diabetes.

 

Source:

XOMA news release March 12 2010

 

Created on: 04/23/2010
Reviewed on: 04/23/2010

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