Work starts on new therapy to prevent Type 1 diabetes

Work starts on new therapy to prevent Type 1 diabetes

Scientists at King’s College London have launched a project to develop a new therapy for Type 1 diabetes.  It is hoped the therapy will control the autoimmune responses that underlie the inflammation that leads to diabetes and prevent it from developing. 

Type 1 diabetes affects approximately 290,000 people in the UK, predominantly children and young adults, and incidence in Europe and North America is increasing. There is currently no known cure or effective prevention and treatment requires multiple, daily, lifelong insulin injections.

The project at King’s College London, as part of King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre, is the culmination of drug discovery efforts in the Department of Immunobiology and will be supported by a Translation Award of £2.3 million from the Wellcome Trust. 

The team will develop a drug called MultiPepT1De, made from a ‘cocktail’ of peptides, in a strategy known as peptide immunotherapy. 

The autoimmune response in targets specific peptides in the β-cells that make insulin, leading to inflammation, loss of β-cells and complete insulin deficiency. By introducing selected fragments of key proteins from β-cells in a form that switches off inflammation, it is hoped this will ‘re-set’ the immune system. 

The King’s group has identified several of the key peptides involved in this process and will develop these as a therapeutic that counters the immune attack on β-cells but leaves the rest of the immune system intact. The project will focus on the physico-chemical, immunological and toxicological properties of the β-cell peptides. The project is expected to complete in 2014, with early clinical trials to follow.

Professor Mark Peakman from King’s College London said: ‘MultiPepT1De has some important advantages over current approaches to the prevention of Type 1 diabetes, especially its ability to avoid global immune suppression which is a problem with several other approaches under consideration. 

‘Peptide immunotherapy is being explored in other diseases, such as allergies and multiple sclerosis, using cocktails of peptides and shows considerable promise and potential for long-lasting effects. We have pinpointed the key peptides involved in Type 1 diabetes, and are hopeful that this could lead to an effective preventative treatment for children and adults who may be at risk of developing the condition. 

‘The Translation Award from the Wellcome Trust is an exciting opportunity to develop the drug all the way through to testing in volunteers in 2014.’ 

Dr Mike Shaw, Director of IP and Licensing at King’s commented: 'This new funding enables us to continue progressing efficiently towards positioning the technology for clinical trials. New data emerging from the work together with the suite of intellectual property and patents in which King’s has invested for a number of years provides a solid basis from which commercial partners can work with us to see the therapy developed for patient benefit.’ 

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Childhood intelligence linked to long-term sick leave

Apr 13, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- Individuals with better cognitive function in childhood are less likely to end up on long-term sick leave in adult life, according to new research by the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s ...

DNA tags key to brain changes in mental disorders

Feb 27, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- Researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London have found a relationship between molecular tags on our DNA and the weight of a particular region of the human ...

Patient-practitioner partnerships not yet realistic

Dec 16, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- Much more work must be done to reduce the gap between the policy ideal and the practical reality of shared decision-making between patients and clinicians, according to new research from ...

Recommended for you

Shift work linked to heightened risk of type 2 diabetes

Jul 24, 2014

Shift work is linked to a heightened risk of developing type 2 diabetes, with the risk seemingly greatest among men and those working rotating shift patterns, indicates an analysis of the available evidence published online ...

Rosemary and oregano contain diabetes-fighting compounds

Jul 23, 2014

The popular culinary herbs oregano and rosemary are packed with healthful compounds, and now lab tests show they could work in much the same way as prescription anti-diabetic medication, scientists report. In their new study ...

User comments