UM Joslin Center will Recruit Volunteers for Clinical Trials
Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore are participating in Diabetes TrialNet, a group of studies investigating the development, prevention, and early treatment of type 1 diabetes. Patients recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, as well as their relatives who may be at risk of developing the disease, are being recruited for the study at the University of Maryland Joslin Diabetes Center and other clinical centers across the United States.
“Our goals are to develop and test prevention strategies and effective interventions for those newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, where the only treatment to date is insulin injections,” says Debra Counts, M.D., an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and head of the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology at the University of Maryland Hospital for Children. “When patients are first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, they usually still have the ability to produce insulin.
If we can stop the progressive loss of insulin-producing cells and couple that with a strategy to regenerate the pancreas, the organ that produces insulin, we could have a cure.”
In the prevention studies, relatives of people with type 1 diabetes will provide a blood sample that will be screened to see if they are showing signs of developing the disease themselves. If eligible, they may volunteer for treatment that could prevent the development of the disease. In the new-onset studies, people who have been recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes will take a variety of medications designed to restore the function of the pancreas.
Type 1 diabetes, which affects one in 400 people in the United States, occurs when the body stops making insulin because the immune system destroys insulin producing cells in the pancreas. “This form of diabetes can occur at any age, but it usually occurs in children and young adults,” says Dr. Counts. “Both genetics and environmental triggers may cause type 1 diabetes. A person’s risk increases to one in 100 if a parent has type 1 diabetes and one in 20 if a sibling has the disease.”
In the study, funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the University of Maryland Joslin Diabetes Center will recruit volunteers up to age 45 who are related to a person with type 1 diabetes, and people ages eight to 45 who have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the last three months. Researchers will follow participants who have relatives with diabetes for five to 10 years to see if they develop the disease. They will also keep track of the pancreatic function of newly diagnosed patients for two years. Treatment studies will involve medical screenings, multiple blood draws and daily medications.
Those interested in volunteering for the study should call the University of Maryland Joslin Diabetes Center’s Pediatric Team at 410-328-5419 or visit www.diabetestrialnet.org for more information.
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