An immunotherapy drug delayed the onset of diabetes in a high-risk twin for two years. Researchers hope this is a big step toward preventing the disease.
Megan and Madeline Coder were different in one way: Megan was diagnosed with diabetes at age nine. As her twin and having four of five proteins that target insulin-making cells, Madeline was at high risk.
Madeline Coder said, “She got diagnosed in September. I started the trial in April.”
Madeline got infusions of Teplizumab for 14 days. She didn’t get diabetes for two years.
Madeline coder said, “I knew I’m going to get it sometime, so I knew I should be expecting it, but it was very nice not having to have it immediately.”
Keri Coder, Twins’ mom said, “Megan dove in and was very diligent, and Madeline could watch and for two years, she just did that. And then when she had to step into that role, she did a good job. It was easier for her.”
Benaroya Research Institute President Doctor Jane Buckner calls the study and its results groundbreaking.
Jane Buckner, MD, President, Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason said, “This is certainly the first time looking at people at very high risk of getting diabetes who don’t have it that we’ve been able to prove that we could delay disease with this treatment.”
Of 76 participants in the trial, 72 percent who got a placebo developed diabetes, compared to only 43 percent who got Teplizumab. Most of those in the trial were under 18.
“It’s a really important time in life for their health, for their growth, for their mental health. And so two more years without this disease is really going to have a huge impact on them,” said Doctor Buckner.
Trialnet hopes more studies will lead to FDA approval.
Doctor Buckner says trials are being planned to extend the benefits of Teplizumab, perhaps even preventing diabetes altogether.