Beta cell treatment investigated in new type 1 diabetes trial

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A pioneering treatment has been trialled which could eventually be used to protect insulin production in people with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes.
An early trial of the DILfrequency study has been completed by a research team from the University of Oxford.
In the trial a treatment based on a protein known as interleukin-2 (IL-2), which works by boosting the beta cells that make insulin, was tested on 36 people with type 1 diabetes. IL-2 is also designed to keep immune cells which attack beta cells at bay.
The participants took varied doses of IL-2 so researchers could determine the optimum amount needed to work.
The trial was broken down into different sections, with the first part involving 12 participants trying out six different treatment plans of varied doses of IL-2 and injection frequencies.
Blood samples were analysed to check how each participant responded to the amount they were given. Each result was used to refine a treatment plan, which was then given to another eight people.
The process was repeated for a further two groups of eight participants. By the end of the study it had been determined that the IL-2 treatment worked at its best when given every three days.
The team, led by Professor John Todd, will further investigate in larger studies how the treatment can be used to protect beta cells in newly diagnosed people with type 1 diabetes. This could eventually help to stop the condition progressing.
The researchers also plan to test their most recent findings on various groups of people, and to investigate whether IL-2 treatment could help to preserve insulin production.
The findings appear online in JCI Insight and the trial has benefitted from funding by the JDRF.