24 October 2023

A new drug has emerged that "postpones" diabetes

A drug that "postpones" diabetes has shown promising results in a new clinical trial.

A phase III clinical trial has shown that the drug teplizumab slows the progression of type I diabetes in children and adolescents who have recently been diagnosed. The success of the trial will expand treatment options for patients and alleviate some of the symptoms of the disease.

Type I diabetes is often diagnosed during adolescence and childhood. The patient's immune system attacks the beta cells in the pancreas and they lose their ability to produce insulin. Symptoms appear at stage 3 of the disease, but they can be diagnosed earlier by detecting associated autoantibodies and abnormal blood sugar levels. But there is no way to influence the situation in any way.

"We haven't had anything to stop the progression of type I diabetes after diagnosis. Children who are diagnosed lose the ability to produce insulin. Teplizumab seems to slow down the process," Kevan Herold, lead author of the study, told us.

In the phase three study, the researchers wanted to test whether teplizumab could preserve beta cell function longer. The study involved 328 patients who had been diagnosed with diabetes within the previous six weeks; 217 were treated with the drug and 111 with a placebo.

Patients were given a daily intravenous dose of either teplizumab or placebo for 12 days. A second 12-day course was then repeated six months later. After 18 months, the researchers evaluated the patients' beta cell function. Of those who received the drug, 94.9% maintained clinically significant levels of a specific biomarker of beta cell function.

The study is published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
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