Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) is a T-cell-mediated autoimmune disease that leads to the destruction of insulin-producing beta cells. Treatment with DiaPep277, a peptide derived from heat-shock protein 60 (hsp60), has been found to slow the deterioration of beta-cell function after clinical onset of diabetes in NOD mice and human adults. Our aim was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of DiaPep277 treatment in attenuating beta-cell destruction in children with recent-onset T1DM.
A prospective, randomized, double-blind, phase II design was used. The sample included 30 children (19 males) aged 7–14 years who had been diagnosed with T1DM from 53 to 116 days previously, and had basal C-peptide concentrations above 0.1 nmol/L. The children were randomized to receive subcutaneous injections of 1 mg DiaPep277 (15 patients) or 40 mg mannitol (placebo) at entry and at 1, 6, and 12 months. The duration of follow-up was 18 months. The groups were compared for stimulated C-peptide level, exogenous insulin dose, and HbA1c concentration.
C-peptide levels similarly decreased over time in the DiaPep277- and placebo-treated patients. There was no significant difference in insulin dose or HbA1c concentration between the groups at any time point. No serious drug-related adverse effects were recorded throughout the study period.
One-year treatment with DiaPep277 at a dosage of 1 mg is safe for use and well tolerated in children with recent-onset T1DM. However, it appears to have no beneficial effect in preserving beta-cell function or improving metabolic control. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.