September 20, 2012

Oral Insulin may play a role in Preventing Type 1 Diabetes


The pipe dream of treating Type 1 diabetes with an insulin pill is truthfully not happening. However a new study finds that the possibility of arresting the development of Type 1 diabetes is worthy of a second look. So you’re telling me there’s a chance?

The TrialNet study follows relatives of people with Type 1 diabetes. They are  investigating whether oral insulin could prevent or delay the disease in siblings who already have the disease. Results from a recently completed study (called DPT-1) suggest that oral insulin might delay or prevent type 1 diabetes in some people found to be at risk.

A Professor of Experimental Diabetes Research at Lund University in Sweden had an insightful basis for the qualifications of people entered into the study. “We know that if a person has two autoantibodies and one of them is against insulin, there is a 50 per cent risk that they will develop type 1 diabetes within five years. It doesn’t matter how old you are”. In realizing how prone an individual related to a person with Type 1 diabetes is, the study includes people: 3 to 45 years of age and have a brother, sister, child, or parent with type 1 diabetes, as well as, 3 to 20 years of age and have a cousin, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, half sibling, or grandparent with type 1 diabetes.

The current study is built upon results from a former study . The former study ran from 1994 to 2003, and participants had  relatives who had Type 1 diabetes and at least two autoantibodies, one of which against insulin. The clinical results were impressive. Among those who had high levels of insulin autoantibodies at the start of the study, the oral insulin had an effect and the development of Type 1 diabetes was delayed. The delaying effect lasted for as long as the participants took the oral insulin.

Although this study proves to be a very insightful and an evidentiary movement in preventing Type 1 diabetes – some people may want to ensure their risk is as low as possible without being subjected to pill popping behavior. For those Nervous Nellies, the “Pathway to Prevention” study may be more your speed.

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