In the coming weeks, the first of a planned total of 1,040 participants with an increased risk of type 1 diabetes will be included in the prevention study POInT (Primary Oral Insulin Trial) in Germany. Ziegler is leading this study, which aims to prevent the disease in infants with increased risk of type 1 diabetes.
In the trial, children between the ages of four and seven months receive a small amount of insulin powder or placebo with a meal every day until their third birthday. "This should teach the immune system to tolerate insulin. The aim is to prevent the immune malfunction typical for type 1 diabetes from occurring, in which the immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas," said Anette-Gabriele Ziegler, director of the Institute of Diabetes Research at Helmholtz Zentrum München and professor for Diabetes and Gestational Diabetes at Technische Universität München (TUM). Preliminary studies have already yielded promising results and have shown that the treatment is safe. Absorbed through the mouth, the insulin is broken down into small components and, unlike injected insulin, has no effect on the blood glucose level.
In order to identify the children who could benefit from participation in the POInT study, the project partners already started the Freder1k screening study last year, which continues to run in parallel: In Bavaria, Saxony and Lower Saxony, all parents can have their babies tested free of charge to determine their risk of developing type 1 diabetes. The offer has already met with great interest in maternity hospitals and pediatrician practices: to date, around 14,000 children have participated. In addition, babies whose parents and siblings already have type 1 diabetes can be examined throughout Germany. If the test result indicates a risk that is at least 25 times higher than normal, the parents will be contacted, informed in detail about the result, and invited to participate in the prevention study.
More information about the studies is available at www.gppad.org or by calling the free telephone hotline 0800-000 00 18.