Trials hold enormous potential, but could take a decade or more to complete.
Clinical trials are underway in the first-ever vaccine for the prevention of type 1 diabetes in humans, according to a statement from the University of Tampere in Finland.
Led by Professor of Virology Heikki Hyöty, a Finnish research group has identified the enteroviruses belonging to the group B coxsackieviruses that are related to diabetes, and has developed a prototype vaccine that aims to prevent these viruses.
“It is known that the vaccine is effective and safe on mice. The developing process has now taken a significant leap forward as the next phase is to study the vaccine in humans,” Hyöty said.
In its first clinical phase, researchers will monitor the vaccine’s safety in a small group of adults. Once results are gathered from the first phase, the vaccine will then be studied in children
“The aim is to investigate both the safety of the vaccine and its effectiveness against enteroviruses,” researchers wrote.
In the third phase, researchers will investigate whether the vaccine could be used to prevent the onset of type 1 diabetes. This portion of the trials could take up to 8 years, researchers noted.
“The aim is to develop a vaccine that could prevent a significant number of Type 1 diabetes cases,” Hyoty said. “Additionally, the vaccine would protect from infections caused by enteroviruses such as the common cold, myocarditis meningitis, and ear infections.”
Even if the drug is successful in its trials, Hyoty does not expect that it will have any benefits for patients who currently have type 1 diabetes.
Researchers with the University of Tampere have studied the connection between viral infections and type 1 diabetes for more than a quarter century. Results indicate that enteroviruses play a part in developing the condition, because they infect the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas and damage them permanently.
Research into the safety and efficacy of a preventative type 1 diabetes injection in humans is the result of a combined effort from Finnish researchers, the Type 1 Diabetes Prediction and Prevention Study, and others.
Research will be funded by US-based Provention Bio, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and Finnish Vactech Oy.
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