01 July 2010
By Vidya Krishnan
New Delhi, India
Teplizumab could change the lives of insulin–dependent diabetics around the world. As part of a worldwide second phase trial, the promising drug will be tested on 100 Ty pe–1 diabetic patients at Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC) to see if it can prevent damage to pancreas and eliminate the need for insulin injections.
Te plizumab is an experimental compound designed to prevent the immune system of Ty pe–1 diabetics from attacking the beta cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. "It is because the beta cells are destroyed over time that the body is unable to produce insulin on its own.
This makes diabetics take insulin injections," said Dr Dinesh Kumar Dhanwal,
the professor of Medicine and Endocrinology at MAMC. Dr Dhanwal and his team will, over the next few days, conduct the trial called Protégé at MAMC for efficacy.
The drug will be given intravenously once daily in two rounds of 14 days each – one at the start of the trial and other six months later. The trial is limited to people aged 8 to 35, whose diabetes was diagnosed no more than 12 weeks before the trial. "The idea is to inform the general population about juvenile diabetics. We want everyone in Delhi to get themselves and even their children tested," said Dr Amit Banerjee, Medical Superintendent, Lok Nayak Hospital.
This new medication if given within first 12 weeks of onset of diabetes can change the immune system of the patient.