Scientists develop a “vaccine” against diabetes

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: (Published 01 December 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:1272
  1. Judy Siegel-Itzkovich
  1. Jerusalem

    Scientists have developed the world's first drug that successfully halts the immune system's destruction of pancreatic b cells in humans. Called DiaPep277, the drug offers the possibility of preventing type I diabetes in healthy people with a genetic risk of the disease and halting its progression in people whose b cells have already begun to die.

    The research team, led by Professor Irun Cohen of the Weizmann Institute of Science's department of immunology, proved that three injections of DiaPep277 given within six months of diagnosis of type I diabetes successfully arrested the progression of the disease in newly diagnosed patients. Participants did not show any harmful or major side effects, and none left the study.

    “It remains to be seen if, and at what intervals, additional DiaPep277 treatments might be needed to maintain long term endogenous insulin production,” Professor Cohen said.

    A report on the …

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