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YOUR HEALTH: Doctors developing ways to delay diabetes

An immunotherapy drug delayed the onset of diabetes in this high-risk twin for two years.

SEATTLE, Washington – A new global study shows that an immunotherapy drug can delay the onset of Type 1 Diabetes for two years in high risk kids and adults.

A set of twins is living proof.

Twins Megan and Madeline Coder were different in one way: Megan was diagnosed with diabetes at age nine.

As her twin and having four of five proteins that target insulin-making cells, Madeline was at high risk.

"She got diagnosed in September," Madeline recalled.  "I started the trial in April."

Madeline got infusions of teplizumab for 14 days.

She didn't get diabetes for two years.

"I knew I'm going to get it sometime, so I knew I should be expecting it, but it was very nice not having to have it immediately."

Her mother remembered how her twin daughters worked together.

"Megan dove in and was very diligent and Madeline could watch and for two years, she just did that," said Terri Coder.

"And then when she had to step into that role, she did a good job. It was easier for her."

The trial results are great news for the relatives of the millions of people with diabetes who are fifteen times more likely to get the disease.

Benaroya Research Institute president Dr. Jane Buckner calls the study and its results groundbreaking.

"This is certainly the first time looking at people at very high risk of getting diabetes who don't have it that we've been able to prove that we could delay disease with this treatment," she said.

"Some of (the patients) may never develop diabetes and then our hope is that we actually prevented them from ever getting it.   That's our ultimate goal."    - Dr. Jane Buckner

Of the 76 participants in the trial, 72% who got a placebo developed diabetes, compared to only 43% who got teplizumab.

Most of those in the trial were under 18.

"It's a really important time in life for their health, for their growth, for their mental health. and so two more years without this disease is really going to have a huge impact on them," explained Dr. Bruckner.

TrialNet hopes more studies will lead to FDA approval.

If this story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Jim Mertens at jim.mertens@wqad.com or Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com.

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