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***The vaccine could mean no more insulin injections
*** It will be of help for people who have just been diagnosed.



Diabetes vaccine trials to begin



A vaccine that could cure Type 1 diabetes is to be tested on people

for the first time.
King's College London and Bristol University have recruited 72

diabetic patients for the trials in late Spring.

The vaccine works by stopping the destruction of pancreas cells that

produce insulin, which is needed to break down sugar in the normal way

If successful, they will recruit more volunteers with the help of the

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.



Human trials


People with Type 1 diabetes tend to develop the condition before the

age of 40 and have to inject themselves with the hormone insulin every

day.

Without these injections their blood sugar would become dangerously

high and they would die.

Scientists have long been looking for a way to cure the condition.

Although the exact cause of Type 1 diabetes is unknown, the body's

defence system is thought to be involved, mounting an abnormal attack

on its own cells.

The two UK teams believe they have found a way to prevent this self-

destruction.


The vaccine contains a protein that encourages the production of

protective immune cells to defend the cells in the pancreas against

attack.

After successful results in mice, the UK researchers are now ready to

test their vaccine in humans.


Future cure



These initial trials will check that the vaccine is safe.

The researchers then hope to be able to stop early diabetes in its

tracks and, eventually, prevent the disease before it begins. But this

will take five to 10 years.

One of the team leaders, Dr Colin Dayan from the University of

Bristol, said: "It will be of help for people who have just been

diagnosed. It might stop their insulin-producing cells from

deteriorating further.

"Then, if it proves to be very safe, we would think about using it in

people who are at high risk of developing Type 1 diabetes."

Co-researcher Professor Mark Peakman, from Kings College London, said

several treatment approaches might need to be combined to combat such

a complex disease as diabetes.

Other scientists are looking at using stem cells and organ transplants

to restore insulin production by the body.

Professor Peakman said: "This is a disease which affects perhaps one

in 200 individuals in the UK but is on the increase, particularly in

children.

"It's a disease that we need to get on top of."

Georgina Slack, head of research at Diabetes UK, said: "A hundred

years ago, Type 1 diabetes was a death sentence.

"We have come a long way in terms of managing the condition.

"Now we are seeing new approaches in research emerge which are

improving the chances of providing a cure.

"There is no doubt that any breakthroughs would have a huge impact on

the treatment of people with diabetes."

The vaccine trial is jointly funded by the Juvenile Diabetes Research

Foundation International and the Diabetes Vaccine Development Centre

in Melbourne, Australia.




Dr Colin Dayan said
"It will be of help for people who have just been diagnosed. It might

stop their insulin-producing cells from deteriorating further.



Does this treatment include people with diabetes who have diabetes for

years?

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