[IPp] New Vaccine May Stop Progression of Type I Diabetes
Hi all. I've been gone for 3 days on a whirlwind tour of Seattle so I'm sure
you all have seen this article already but I thought I'd pass it on anyway.
New Vaccine May Stop Progression of Type I Diabetes
JULY 2003 A new vaccine, based on research at UCLA, has been shown in early
human clinical trials to stop the progression of type I diabetes, also known as
juvenile diabetes, a condition that affects about one in 300 people, with the
average onset age of 12.
The results of the clinical study, conducted by pharmaceutical company Diamyd
Medical, were announced June 14 in New Orleans at the American Diabetes
Association's 63rd annual Scientific Sessions. The results may lead to a new
treatment to prevent type I diabetes -- currently there is no cure.
"It's tremendously satisfying to see our work at UCLA go from the lab to a
clinical application with the potential to help so many people" said Daniel
Kaufman, a professor in the Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology,
whose research team first developed and tested the vaccine in diabetes-prone
The prevention of type I diabetes is critical since although affected
individuals can lead active lives by injecting insulin daily, long-term
complications frequently occur, including kidney and heart disease, nervous
system damage, and blindness.
In type I diabetes, the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the
insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Over time, this attack leads to a lack
of insulin, the hormone that controls blood sugar levels. People with type I
diabetes must inject insulin daily.
Diamyd Medical conducted the phase II clinical trial by vaccinating adults who
were recently diagnosed with late-onset type I diabetes. Researchers used a new
vaccine, based on a GAD protein vaccine developed at UCLA. After disease onset,
type I diabetes patients usually have a little remaining capacity to produce
insulin, a capacity that eventually disappears. The new vaccine successfully
prolonged these patients' ability to produce insulin over a six-month period,
compared with patients who received a placebo.
"The study shows that it is possible to inhibit the autoimmune attack on the
cells that make insulin, thereby slowing the progression of type I diabetes,"
Kaufman added that type I diabetes takes years to develop and symptoms only
become apparent when the disease is quite advanced -- at the point when most of
the insulin-producing cells have been destroyed. This vaccine could inhibit the
progression of the disease so that treated children might never develop it, or
the onset of the disease might be significantly delayed.
The phase II trial is the first human trial with the GAD vaccine. No side
effects were reported. Diamyd Medical is continuing to follow the progress of
the vaccinated patients.
"Since the vaccine seemed so effective when given to people with an advanced
disease, we are hopeful that it will be highly effective when given at earlier
stages of the disease process -- we now know that type I diabetes takes years to
develop and that we can detect people who are at early stages of the disease
process by testing for GAD autoantibodies in their blood," said Anders
Essen-Moller, president and CEO of Diamyd Medical.
ReDiamyd Medical's phase II trial was conducted on 47 diabetes patients with
the GAD?based vaccine at the UMAS hospital in Malmoe, Sweden, and St. Gorans
Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden. The patients were randomly divided into four
groups of approximately 12 patients per group. Each patient received one
injection of the vaccine, followed by at least one boost injection four weeks
later. Nine patients in every group received the active drug; three received
placebo. The groups received different doses of the vaccine, ranging from 4
micrograms to 500 micrograms per dose.
All patients visited the hospitals 10 times during this six-month study.
Detailed clinical, immunological and neurological investigations showed no
safety concerns at the administered dose levels. The study results show that the
diabetes vaccine could significantly protect the patient's ability to secrete
insulin, both when fasting and after meals.
The GAD vaccine originated at UCLA from an unexpected convergence of studies in
neurobiology and immunology. In the late 1980s, the laboratory of Dr. Allan
Tobin, who now directs the UCLA Brain Research Institute, was involved in
isolating genes that were thought to be important in brain development and
Working with Tobin, graduate students Kaufman and Mark Erlander isolated the
gene that makes a protein called "GAD," which creates an important
neurotransmitter in the brain. At that time, it was known that although GAD was
made primarily in the brain, it was also made in the pancreas in the cells that
Several years later, Kaufman and Tobin realized that the autoimmune response
that causes type I diabetes may be due to the immune system attacking the GAD
protein in the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. With this knowledge,
they developed a GAD diagnostic test for identifying individuals who were
developing type I diabetes based on antibodies in their blood that recognized
Kaufman, in his own laboratory at the UCLA Department of Molecular and Medical
Pharmacology, along with Dr. Jide Tian, of the same department, searched for
ways to help the immune system tolerate the GAD protein, which would circumvent
or inhibit the autoimmune attack.
The team reported in the journal Nature in 1993 that when young, diabetes-prone
mice were treated with a small amount of the GAD protein, their immune systems
learned to tolerate the protein. The autoimmune response that leads to type I
diabetes never developed in these mice as they grew older.
Lease URL, if available: In another study published by Nature-Medicine in 1996,
the UCLA team developed the GAD vaccine to inhibit the autoimmune response after
it had already begun to attack the insulin?producing cells. Kaufman and Tian
showed that even after the type I diabetes disease process had started in
diabetes-prone mice, its progression could be inhibited by the GAD vaccine.
According to Tian, the GAD vaccine activated T-cells (a type of white blood
cell or immune defense cell) that recognized GAD. The T-cells traveled to the
pancreas and, recognizing the GAD protein, released calming substances called
"anti-inflammatory" cytokines, which suppressed the immune cells that were
killing the insulin-producing cells.
"The beauty of this vaccine is that it just affected one small part of the
immune system -- without broadly inhibiting the function of the entire immune
system," Tian said.
With this proof-of-principle in mice, UCLA licensed the technology to Diamyd
Medical for clinical development.
Source: University of California
Rachel - www.picturetrail.com/jracheln
email @ redacted
"If we are what we eat, then I'm easy, fast, and cheap"
Do you Yahoo!?
SBC Yahoo! DSL - Now only $29.95 per month!
for HELP or to subscribe/unsubscribe, contact: