A total of 145 patients aged three to 45 years living in the US and Canada who had been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes within the previous three months took part in the trial. The volunteers were given either the vaccine; the vaccine plus a standard immune-system booster; or just the booster alone. Patients in all three groups experienced similar progression in the disease, with no difference among them in side effects. The paper, led by Jay Skyler of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, was presented at a conference of the American Diabetes Association in San Diego, California. Despite the setback, the investigators called for more research to see if the formula might work when administered sooner or as part of a combination therapy.
The number of adults with diabetes worldwide has more than doubled since 1980, with almost 350 million now affected, according to data reported earlier at the conference. Diabetes is caused by poor blood sugar control and can lead to heart disease and stroke and damage the kidneys, nerves and eyes. High blood sugar levels and diabetes kill three million people across the world each year. The surge is attributed to longer lifespan and excess weight, especially among women. Type 1, a condition that affects about 5-10% of people with diabetes, was previously known as juvenile diabetes because it typically shows up in children or young adults. Patients have to take daily insulin shots for the rest of their lives and follow dietary guidelines and exercise. In Type 2 diabetes, previously known as adult-onset diabetes, either the body does not produce enough insulin or cells are resistant to the hormone. The condition is managed by diet, exercise as well as insulin shots if need be.