Research ArticleAutoimmunity

Metabolic and immune effects of immunotherapy with proinsulin peptide in human new-onset type 1 diabetes

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Science Translational Medicine  09 Aug 2017:
Vol. 9, Issue 402, eaaf7779
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaf7779

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Peptide therapy prompts responses in diabetes

Immunotherapy using peptides has been successful for some patients with allergies, but has not yet been deployed in autoimmune diseases, which may involve greater safety risks. Alhadj Ali et al. designed a placebo-controlled trial to determine whether a proinsulin peptide could safely elicit immune and metabolic responses in people recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes without accelerating disease. This small trial showed that treatment seemed to modify T cell responses and did not interfere with residual β cell function. In contrast to subjects in the placebo arm, treated subjects did not need to increase their insulin use. These encouraging results support a larger trial to investigate efficacy of the peptide therapy for treating disease.