Saturday, September 29, 2018

Dropping Four Research Programs

Every year in September or October I write a blog posting which summarizes all research being done in humans, aimed at curing type-1 diabetes.  That blog is going to be published in 2-4 weeks.   While putting that blog together I have found several research projects which I should not cover any more, and I'm listed those here, with a brief note on why they are no longer of interest.

I understand that this posting is a downer, and I'm sorry for that, but it is important to know what studies are no longer looking promising, and why.  Research naturally gets a lot of press when there is good news, but it's important to keep track of the bad news, and the "no news is bad news" situations as well.

Dendritic Cell Therapy  (DV-100) by DiaVacs
This trial was supposed to start in 2013, but never did.  The company is working on a follow on product, DV-200, and when that starts clinical trials I will follow it.  But since there has been a five year break between DV-100 and DV-200, I'm going to wait until a trial actually starts before restarting coverage.

BCG by Faustman at Harvard
This research is being removed for two reasons:
  • Her phase-II trial is not using C-peptide data as either a primary or secondary outcome.  C-peptide is the standard measure for progress to a cure, so not having it as a primary or even secondary outcome means this research is no longer "aimed a curing type-1 diabetes".  (I will continue to follow it, and especially any C-peptide data that comes out, but unless C-peptides are a primary or secondary outcome, it is not cure focused for me.)
  • The phase-I trial extended results show that Dr. Faustman's original theory (the TNF theory) of how BCG might cure type-1 diabetes is wrong.  The paper said specifically that the theory did not explain the results seen, and presented a new theory.  However the new theory is based on how the body digests carbs (not regenerating beta cells), and therefore is not a cure focused theory.  (Indeed, several type-2 diabetes treatments are based on similar theories).  So even if this theory is correct, the result would be treatment, not cure.

Obviously, this research group is continuing to talk about curing type-1 diabetes, but one the rules of my blog is "Actions speak louder than words" and if the clinical trial is not focused on C-peptide data, I don't think they are focused on a cure, no matter what is said.

Rilonacept by White at University of Texas
This group published their phase-I results in June 2018, but they were unsuccessful: "Rilonacept treatment for 6 months is well-tolerated in individuals with T1D of recent onset, but is unlikely to be efficacious as a single agent in preserving beta cell function."  So I don't expect any follow up work.

The Sydney Project (Encapsulated Stem Cells)
I can not find any recent references to this project.  The closest I can find is an encapsulated stem cell project being funded by the Australian Foundation for Diabetes Research.  It is doing animal research right now, so not clinical trials.

Joshua Levy 
publicjoshualevy at gmail dot com
All the views expressed here are those of Joshua Levy, and nothing here is official JDRF, JDCA, or Bigfoot Biomedical news, views, policies or opinions. In my day job, I work in software for Bigfoot Biomedical. My daughter has type-1 diabetes and participates in clinical trials, which might be discussed here. My blog contains a more complete non-conflict of interest statement. Thanks to everyone who helps with the blog.


Rick Phillips said...

Once again Faustman makes claims, gets attention that are thrown on the scrap heap of items that were never going to work. We need to stop giving her attention until she gets something into Phase 3. If we do this, I predict it will be the last time we will hear of or for her.

Unknown said...

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Bruno said...

Bad news. I think a biological cure is unlikely. If we could move forward with smart insulin or the VIACYTE PEC would be fantastic.