Type 1 Diabetes Prevention Breakthrough:
Teplizumab Delays Diagnosis in People at High Risk

In study results presented at the American Diabetes Association’s 79th Annual Scientific Sessions and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the immunotherapy drug teplizumab was shown to delay type 1 diabetes (T1D) diagnosis a median of 2 years in children and adults at high risk. This is one of the most promising advances in T1D prevention in years.

“This is great news for millions of people worldwide impacted by type 1 diabetes, especially relatives of people with type 1 diabetes who are at 15 times greater risk than the general population,” said Robin Goland, MD, Co-Director, Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center and J. Merrill Eastman Professor of Clinical Diabetes at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and a TrialNet Principal Investigator.

The Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center is one of 28 sites that participated in the study conducted by TrialNet, the largest clinical trial network ever assembled to discover ways to delay and prevent T1D.

Teplizumab is an immunotherapy drug designed to interfere with the body’s immune destruction of its own beta cells. Of the 76 participants in the study, 55 were under age 18, and all had a relative with type 1 diabetes. Participants were randomly assigned to either the treatment group, which received a 14-day IV course of teplizumab, or the control group, which received a placebo. On average, time to clinical diabetes diagnosis for the teplizumab group was four years, compared to two years for people in the control group.

At the end of the trial, there were 53% in the teplizumab-treated group who did not have T1D, as compared to 28% in the placebo group.

“As anyone with type 1 diabetes will tell you, every day you can delay this disease is important,” said Teplizumab Prevention Study Chair Kevan Herold, M.D.

Samples collected during the trial are being studied to help researchers understand why certain people responded to teplizumab better than others. Next, TrialNet researchers hope to conduct additional studies to look for ways to extend the benefits of teplizumab. TrialNet is currently conducting two other trials to see if other immune therapy can delay T1D.