Sunday, July 22, 2012

Possible Cures for Type-1 in the News (July-2012)

Status of DiaPep277

The good news: DiaPep277 has finished one successful phase-III clinical trial, and is expected to finish enrollment of the second (and last) one in the next few weeks.  Once that second one is fully enrolled, there is a two year wait for it to complete, and then (if it is also successful) another year or two for marketing approval, and then (with a lot of luck and good results) DiaPep277 will be generally available in the US.  The EU timeline would be similar.

The bad news: The results from their first phase-III clinical trial are no where near a cure.  The results so far have been a statistically significant, longer and stronger honeymoon phase. Something like 25% more insulin production in the year after diagnosis.

Discussion: So, if we assume that DiaPep is successful from here on, and gets approved,  and works as well in actual use, as it worked in this first phase-III trial, how good is that news?

If you are a glass is half full kind of guy, then you can say things like this: DiaPep is the first treatment that actually changes the path of type-1 diabetes.  In addition to lengthening and straightening the honeymoon period, it may result in fewer lows and fewer highs, which means fewer long term complications of the disease.  Plus, future research may well make it better than it is now.

If you are a glass is half empty kind of guy, then you can say things like this: DiaPep's impact is only for a year in the honeymoon phase, and it's not even clear that it's good effect will have any impact at all in the long term complications of the disease.

But in any case, I think we are still 4+ years away from general availability.

Zhao in Spain

Drs. Delgado and Otero at Hospital Universitario Central de Asturias (in Spain) are going to start a clinical trial of the Zhao research. (Previous blogging here:  They expect to treat 30 people, and to start in the fall.  

News: (in Spanish)

Non-Cure Trial to Reduce Hypoglycaemia

I thought this study was interesting, even if it is not aimed at curing type-1 diabetes.  The goal here is preserve alpha cell function.  Alpha cells are cells in the pancreas that generate various hormones, but not insulin.  Almost all of the current research on type-1 diabetes is focused on beta cells (which generate insulin), but type-1 also effects alpha cells.  So this research is aimed at trying to preserve the body's natural glucagon response to low blood sugar events.

The news here is that this trial completed enrollment on 7-March-2012, and since it takes 3 months to gather the data, they should have it all by now.  So we just need to wait for them to publish the results.

Clinical Trial:

Great Blog (by Riva) on Meter Accuracy

This is a great posting on meter accuracy:

Compares different meters to each other.  Compares the same meter used at different times.  Compares household meters to blood lab readings.  What more could you want?

Joshua Levy
All the views expressed here are those of Joshua Levy, and nothing here is official JDRF or JDCA news, views, policies or opinions. My blog contains a more complete non-conflict of interest statement. 
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