Children's has announced it is a participant in a new study of medications that have shown promise in slowing the progress of diabetes and, in some cases, restoring insulin-producing cells.
The study, conducted in collaboration with Sanford Medical Center (Sioux Falls, SD), will focus on the ability of the medications to halt the autoimmune attack as well as to regenerate the body's islet cells and, therefore, the progression of diabetes.
Similar studies conducted elsewhere, designed to counteract the immune attack, have used medications with high rates of adverse effects stemming from the shutting down of the body's immune system in general.
"A safe and promising study for children"
The Children's/Sanford Medical Center study will look at a combination of two medications — sitagliptin and lansoprazole — that are currently on the market and used to treat type 2 diabetes and acid reflux disease, respectively. Both of these drugs are widely used and have a strong safety record for the treatment in both adults and teens.
"This study is perfect for Children's," said Jennifer Kyllo, MD, medical director of Children's Endocrine Clinic and McNeely Diabetes Center, the only diabetes center in the region to specialize in working solely with children and teens.
"The most important reason is we believe it's a safe and promising study for children. And we're an ideal research partner for Sanford Health because Children's has the highest number of new type-I diabetes patients in the state."
The study is open to patients age 11 to 45, though Kyllo expects most subjects will be between the ages of 11 and 22. Participants must be within their first six months of being diagnosed with diabetes.
A potentially "monumental breakthrough"
The ramifications of the study on diabetes patients and the future of diabetes treatment could be significant.
"People tend to minimize the devastating effects of this disease," Kyllo said. "But people with diabetes have to check their blood sugar four to 10 times a day, take insulin four to six times a day, and if they don't manage it correctly, their circulation is damaged, their kidneys quit, and more.
Noting that the death of insulin-producing cells can happen in as quickly as three months or during the course of more than two years, Kyllo said helping patients who have or can achieve at least a measure of insulin-secretion ability can have a tremendous positive impact.
"Patients with even just some insulin secretion have significantly better prospects for their long-term health. So even if we're not looking at a cure with this study, confirming what we hope to find would represent a monumental breakthrough for children and adults with diabetes."
For more information
For more information on this study, including participation by patients, please contact Dr. Kyllo at Children's Endocrine Clinic and McNeely Diabetes Center, (651) 220-6624.