Trial into oral insulin to prevent type 1 diabetes gets underway

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Pioneering research is set to be carried out to see if giving babies insulin could prevent them from developing type 1 diabetes.
A research team from the University of Oxford are trying to recruit pregnant women from across Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire to take part in the first study of its kind.
The trial will involve screening around 30,000 newborn babies to see if they have the genes usually associated with type 1 diabetes. The blood test will be carried out during the routine heel-prick test that is carried out days after the child has been born.
The babies who are found to be carrying the genes linked to the condition will be invited to take part in the Primary Oral Insulin Trial (POInT trial).
The aim of the research is to see whether feeding small doses of insulin powder to the young child will prevent type 1 diabetes.
Selina Coleman, whose daughter Zara was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 13 months old, said: “When you have a child you expect everything to run smoothly, so to be delivered the news that she was diagnosed with an incurable condition was a big blow and I was very upset at the time.
“You read about more and more children being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes so it’s vital for this research to go ahead.”
Zara, who is now 12, said: “Research into preventing diabetes sounds really amazing. For someone to have that chance to live without it and have that freedom would be great.”
Dr Elizabeth Robertson, Director of Research at Diabetes UK, said: “Type 1 diabetes is a very serious condition and there is currently no way to prevent it. So, we’re delighted to see this global initiative to prevent type 1 diabetes getting underway, with the University of Oxford and families in the UK playing a vital role.
30,000 pregnant women will be recruited, and the researchers aim to find 300 babies at high risk of type 1 diabetes to take part in the trial.
Dr Robertson added, “This is a huge endeavour, so we would encourage women living in the South East who think they might be eligible to find out more – research like this can’t happen without the incredible people who take part.”