The results of the Phase II trial are published today in Diabetes Care, a journal of the American Diabetes Association.
"It shows a strong trend in preserving insulin-producing beta cell function that is significantly better than placebo," said Staley Brod, M.D., principal investigator of the trial, which includes the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). "It can extend the 'honeymoon phase' of the disease, allowing the body to still produce insulin from beta cells, which correlates with decreased complication rates."
As many as 3 million Americans may have type I diabetes, formerly called juvenile diabetes, according to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International. Each year, 15,000 children are diagnosed with the autoimmune disease, in which the pancreas stops producing the insulin needed to transfer glucose from the blood to cells for energy. The result is too much glucose in the blood, which can lead to kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage, amputations, heart attack and stroke.
A honeymoon phase sometimes occurs just after diagnosis as the body tries to rebound. Many patients experience a period when their need for insulin becomes minimal, control of blood sugar improves and beta cells partially recover. If the pancreas is still able to function, the highs and lows experienced by taking manufactured insulin can be decreased.
The Phase II trial included 128 patients from the NIDDK's Intramural Studies Office, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and Children's Hospitals and Clinics in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn. Research was conducted at The University of Texas Clinical Research Center at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, which is part of the Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.
Research subjects ages 3 to 25 diagnosed with type 1 diabetes within six weeks of enrollment were randomized to receive 5,000 units of interferon alpha, 30,000 units of interferon alpha or placebo once daily for one year. Patients treated with 5,000 units lost only 29 percent of their beta cell function compared to 48 percent for patients receiving 30,000 units and 56 percent for patients receiving the placebo.
Austin resident Jarod Wallquist, 11, was 5 years old when he was diagnosed with type I diabetes and his mother Amy learned about Brod's study. Jarod received the 5,000 units of interferon alpha, but neither she nor the researchers knew it at the time because of the double-blind nature of the study.
"My husband and I are both scientific-minded so we understood the importance of the research even if we didn't know whether it would help Jarod," said Wallquist, whose family made regular trips to Houston for the study. "Jarod is doing really well. He wears an insulin pump but he's never had to go to the emergency room. To this day, according to his doctor, his amount of insulin needed is much lower than other kids his age and weight. He plays baseball and is on the swim team and he totally has a normal life."
The research builds on Brod's earlier studies on oral interferon alpha in animals and a Phase I safety trial. After the results of the safety trial, NIDDK researchers asked to join Brod's research before the Phase II trial.
Brod's theory is that autoimmune diseases, which occur when the body is attacked by its own immune system, are actually an alpha interferon immunodeficiency syndrome. Interferons are a group of proteins produced by cells in response to an attack by a virus.
The research was supported in part by two grants from the National Institutes of Heath—one to Brod from the NIDDK and one to the UT Health Science Center at Houston for the Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences. The research also was supported by grants from the Children's Hospital of Minnesota Foundation and the Diabetes Action Research and Education Foundation.
Co-authors of the study from the UT Medical School at Houston are Philip Orlander, M.D., professor and director of the Division of Endocrinology, and Miriam Morales, B.S., consultant. Corresponding author from the NIDDK is Kristina Rother, M.D., M.H.Sc.
Deborah Mann Lake | EurekAlert!
Further reports about: > Clinical and Translational Science > Diabetes > Heart Attack > Interferon > Medical Wellness > NIDDK > Science TV > alpha interferon immunodeficiency syndrome > amputations > autoimmune disease > beta cells > blindness > blood sugar > insulin pump > kidney failure > nerve damage > stroke > type I diabetes
Advanced analysis of brain structure shape may track progression to Alzheimer's disease
26.10.2016 | Massachusetts General Hospital
Indian roadside refuse fires produce toxic rainbow
26.10.2016 | Duke University
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
27.10.2016 | Life Sciences
27.10.2016 | Life Sciences
26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering