GAINESVILLE, Fla. University of Florida researchers have begun a clinical study of oral insulin to prevent or delay type 1 diabetes in people at risk for the disease.
The UF Health Science Center and Shands at UF are among 14 centers in the United States working with affiliate sites and participating physicians in Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet, a research group dedicated to the understanding, prevention and early treatment of type 1 diabetes.
This is a unique opportunity to attempt to prevent the disease in relatives at risk for type 1 diabetes, said Desmond Schatz, M.D., medical director of UFs Diabetes Center of Excellence and principal investigator with the UF TrialNet Clinical Center. The intervention may also offer hope for delaying the onset of the disease.
An estimated 1 to 2 million people with the disease have type 1 diabetes, which occurs when white blood cells vital to the bodys defenses against infectious diseases attack insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. The insulin these cells produce regulates how the body uses and stores sugar and other food nutrients for energy.
Research has shown the pancreas is resilient and more than half its insulin-producing beta cells must be irreversibly destroyed before an individual develops symptoms of the disease, which can take months or even years to occur.
That long period prior to the onset of symptoms provides an opportunity for interventions aimed at preventing the diseases development, Schatz said.
In the study, University of Florida researchers are testing whether an insulin capsule taken by mouth once a day can prevent or delay type 1 diabetes in a specific group of people at risk for the disease.
An earlier trial suggested that oral insulin might delay type 1 diabetes for about four years in some people with islet cell autoantibodies in their blood. The presence of these autoantibodies alerts physicians to the destruction of insulin-
Contact: Melanie Fridl Ross
University of Florida