Since 1970, Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston has awarded medals or certificates to people with type 1 diabetes who have been insulin-dependent continuously for at least 25 years. To date there have been approximately 2,400 50-Year Medals awarded and 17 distinctive 75-Year Medals. The Medalist Study began in April 2005 to identify physiological, clinical, genetic and other factors shared by the Medalists.
The study being presented at the ADA meeting is part of the second phase of the Joslin 50-Year Medalist Study that is assessing these factors in 326 patients with more than 50 years of insulin-dependent diabetes. It evaluated a subset of 125 people with type 1 diabetes for biomarkers of insulin function. Of this group, 12.7 percent had a c-peptide level greater than 0.3 ng/mL, which indicates active islet cells and some residual insulin production. Most of the Medalists have the characteristics associated with type 1 diabetes with or without the presence of c-peptide.
In addition, 23.2 percent of the c-peptide positive participants produced either of two antibodies, GADA and IA2, which attack islet cells. The study also found that 17 percent of participants who were not c-peptide positive produced GADA or IA2 antibodies to the islet cells, another indication that a small amount of islet cells may still be present and/or functioning.
"The findings are phenomenal," said Hillary Keenan, Ph.D., research associate at Joslin and co-investigator on the 50-Year Medalist Study, who will present the findings. "This is the first study to look at the specific biomarkers for islet cell presence in people with a 50-year duration of insulin-dependent diabetes." Other Joslin investigators in the study included Alessandro Doria, M.D., Ph.D., Lloyd Paul Aiello, M.D., Ph.D., Korey Hood, Ph.D., and Jennifer Sun, M.D.
The group also was tested for other cli
Source:Joslin Diabetes Center