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Type 1 Diabetes Treatment Disappoints in Trial
Date:2/2/2012

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 1 (HealthDay News) -- The latest trial of a drug called GAD-alum to treat type 1 diabetes failed to show any significant improvement in the common markers of the blood sugar disease.

The researchers, however, said they felt there were possible reasons for the failure of the current trial, and that specific groups of people still might benefit from GAD-alum.

"Even if this study failed to reach its primary outcome, there were quite impressive results in certain subgroups, which supports the concept of using auto-antigens in the therapy of recent-onset type 1 diabetes," said study author Dr. Johnny Ludvigsson, a professor in the division of pediatrics, in the department of clinical and experimental medicine at Linkoping University in Sweden.

Results of the study are published in the Feb. 2 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Funding for the study was provided by Diamyd Medical (the drug's maker) and the Swedish Child Diabetes Foundation.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells. In the case of type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. When enough beta cells have been destroyed, people with type 1 diabetes no longer produce enough insulin to properly metabolize the carbohydrates in foods. Carbohydrates become glucose in the body, which is used to fuel the body's cells. If people with type 1 diabetes don't take insulin (through injections or an insulin pump), their body's cells can't use the glucose and blood sugar levels rise to dangerous levels.

There are several autoantibodies (also called autoantigens) that can cause the destruction of beta cells in type 1 diabetes. One such autoantibody is called GAD65. Not everyone with type 1 diabetes has GAD65 autoantibodies, but many do. Dr. Jay Skyler, deputy director of clinic
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