Research of Type 1 Diabetes

This section is an incomplete list of mainly commercial companies but also other entities, namely governmental institutions and individual persons, actively involved in research towards finding a cure to diabetes type 1. It does not list research funds, hospitals in which research is undertaken, etc., but only the industrious, actual developers of such products.

Entities are listed alphabetically along with their status of research in that field, so that also entities which ceased research into finding a cure to diabetes type 1 may be listed.

    * Amylin Pharmaceuticals – is working toward finding a cure, and has a drug on the market called Symlin (pramlintide acetate) that helps in treating type 1 diabetes
    * Cerco Medical  – Present status: Unknown
    * Denise Faustman  – Present status: Working on immune modification
    * DeveloGen  – Present status: Developing DiaPep 277
    * Diamyd Medical  – Present status: Developing GAD65-based vaccine (phase III trial started)
    * Tolerx, Inc. [] - Present status: Now (4/2009) in Phase 3 clinical study of otelixizumab, an Fc-disabled, anti-CD3 monoclonal antibody in patients with new onset (diagnosis within last 10 weeks) type 1 diabetes.
    * National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases 

Research foundations
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) is the major charitable organization in the USA, Canada and Australia devoted to type 1 diabetes research. JDRF's mission is to cure type 1 diabetes and its complications through the support of research. Since its founding in 1970, JDRF has contributed more than $1.3 billion to diabetes research, including more than $156 million in FY 2008. In FY 2008, the Foundation funded 1,000 centers, grants and fellowships in 22 countries. In November 2008 JDRF launched a new online social network for people with type 1 diabetes--*Juvenation.

The International Diabetes Federation is a worldwide alliance of over 160 countries to address diabetes research and treatment. The American Diabetes Association funds some work on type 1 but devotes much of its resources to type 2 diabetes due to the increasing prevalence of the type 2 version. Diabetes Australia is involved in promoting research and education in Australia on both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The Canadian Diabetes Association is also involved in educating, researching, and sustaining sufferers of type 1 Diabetics in Canada. Pacific Northwest Diabetes Research Institute conducts clinical and basic research on type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

"Immunization" approach

If a biochemical mechanism can be found that prevents the immune system from attacking beta cells, it may be administered to prevent commencement of diabetes type 1. Several groups are trying to achieve this by causing the activation state of the immune system to change from Th1 state (“attack” by killer T Cells) to Th2 state (development of new antibodies). This Th1-Th2 shift occurs via a change in the type of cytokine signaling molecules being released by regulatory T-cells. Instead of pro-inflammatory cytokines, the regulatory T-cells begin to release cytokines that inhibit inflammation. This phenomenon is commonly known as "acquired immune tolerance".

A substance designed to cause lymphocyte cells to cease attacking beta cells, DiaPep277 is a peptide fragment of a larger protein called HSP60. Given as a subcutaneous injection, its mechanism of action involves a Th1-Th2 shift. Clinical success has been demonstrated in prolonging the "honeymoon" period for people who already have type 1 diabetes. The product is currently being tested in people with latent autoimmune diabetes of adults (LADA). Ownership of the drug has changed hands several times over the last decade. In 2007, Clal Biotechnology Industries (CBI) Ltd., an Israeli investment group in the field of life sciences, announced that Andromeda Biotech Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of CBI, signed a Term Sheet with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. to develop and commercialize DiaPep277.

Intra-nasal insulin
There is pre-clinical evidence that a Th1-Th2 shift can be induced by administration of insulin directly onto the immune tissue in the nasal cavity. This observation has led to a clinical trial, called INIT II, which began in late 2006, based in Australia and New Zealand.

BCG research
Tumor necrosis factor-alpha, or TNF-α, is part of the immune system. It helps the immune system distinguish self from non-self tissue. People with type 1 diabetes are deficient in this substance. Dr. Denise Faustman theorizes that giving Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), an inexpensive generic drug, would have the same impact as injecting diabetic mice with Freund's Adjuvant, which stimulates TNF-α production. TNF-α kills the white blood cells responsible for destroying beta cells, and thus prevents, or reverses diabetes. She has reversed diabetes in laboratory mice with this technique, but was only able to receive funding for subsequent research from The Iaccoca Foundation, founded by Lee Iacocca in honor of his late wife, who died from diabetes complications. Human trials are set to begin in 2008.

Diamyd is the name of a vaccine being developed by Diamyd Medical. Injections with GAD65, an autoantigen involved in type 1 diabetes, has in clinical trials delayed the destruction of beta cells for at least 30 months, without serious adverse effects. Patients treated with the substance showed higher levels of regulatory cytokines, thought to protect the beta cells. Phase III trials are under way in the USA and in Europe, with most sites actively pursuing participants. Two prevention studies, where the vaccine is given to persons who have not yet developed diabetes, will start in 2009.