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Question:

From Hazleton, Pennsylvania, USA:

Our three year old son was diagnosed with diabetes two days ago. Are you aware of any early intervention programs to arrest the disease process prior to complete destruction of the pancreatic islet cells?

Answer:

There is a new study with oral interferon:

(From the NIDDK, re secondary prevention trial for type 1 diabetes.)

We have recently initiated a multicenter, double blinded study to investigate the effectiveness of ingested interferon-alpha to prevent further beta-cell loss in patients with type 1 diabetes of recent onset. We include individuals between the ages of 3 to 25 years who have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes for less than 6 weeks and who have no other significant diseases. They receive oral interferon-alpha (5,000 or 30,000 units, diluted in a sip of saline) versus placebo for 1 year. Primary outcome is determined by measurements of mixed meal stimulated C-peptide levels at 0, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months. The participating centers are University of Texas in Houston, Texas, and National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

Here a brief background: Ingested interferon-alpha was first found to inhibit chronic relapsing experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis representing an animal model for multiple sclerosis. In 1998, Brod et al reported that administration of oral interferon-alpha in the non-obese diabetic (NOD) mouse model reduced insulitis and prevented the onset of diabetes. Furthermore, adoptive transfer of unstimulated splenocytes from interferon fed donors suppressed spontaneous diabetes in recipient animals. Production of interleukins 4 and 10 as well as interferon-gamma secretion in spleen cells of treated animals were increased. Subsequently, eleven patients with new onset type 1 diabetes were included in a pilot study at the University of Texas in Houston, in which more than the expected number of individuals remained in the so called honeymoon phase (period of time with continued endogenous insulin production). The exact mechanisms of action of ingested interferon-alpha remain unknown. We investigate and monitor beta cell secretory capacity, metabolic control, insulin requirements, frequency and severity of hypoglycemic events as well as serum cytokine patterns and cytokine mRNA transcript levels in stimulated lymphocytes.

E-mail: kr58q [@] nih.gov or Staley.A.Brod [@] uth.tmc.edu

TGL

DTQ-20020310121119
Original posting 14 May 2002
Posted to Research: Causes and Prevention

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:34
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