Incidence of type 1 diabetes is increasing and the disease is presenting at earlier ages. Each year, in the U.S. alone, approximately 15,000 children and adolescents are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. It is one of the most common chronic diseases in school-aged children.
A national type 1 diabetes prevention study that is part of the National Institutes of Health TrialNet research network is now enrolling children as young as 8 years old. Previously, the study was limited to those ages 16 to 45.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. The TrialNet Teplizumab Prevention Study will determine whether the drug Teplizumab can stop or slow down the disease process in individuals with the highest risk of developing type 1 diabetes. Those eligible for the study have a 75 percent or more chance of developing the disease in the next five to six years. In earlier studies, Teplizumab has shown promise in preserving insulin production in people newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
According to Kevan Herold, M.D., TrialNet Principal Investigator and Professor of Immunobiology and Medicine at Yale, “Being able to test this promising prevention approach in children as young as 8 allows us to take this research much closer to those who will ultimately benefit the most.”
To identify persons eligible for this trial, TrialNet offers a screening test at no charge to relatives of people with type 1 diabetes. This group has a 15 times greater chance of developing the disease than those with no family history. The test is capable of detecting type 1 diabetes antibodies in the blood years before symptoms appear.
TrialNet is an international network of diabetes researchers exploring new ways to prevent or delay the progression of type 1 diabetes. Nearly 200 TrialNet locations nationwide offer screening and research studies. Screening test kits are also available by mail.
To find out more, visit www.DiabetesTrialNet.org or call 1-800-425-8361.