In a preliminary study of 70 adolescents with type 1 diabetes, two shots of GAD-alum helped preserve insulin secretion in adolescents diagnosed with type 1 diabetes within the previous six months.
Here's how it worked.
GAD-alum targeted a protein called GAD (glutamic acid decarboxylase). GAD, which is found in the brain and in insulin-secreting cells of the pancreas, isn't a problem in people without type 1 diabetes. But in type 1 diabetes, the body's immune system attacks the pancreas, and GAD is part of that attack. So the basic idea was to curb GAD to try to save insulin-secreting pancreatic cells.
In the new study, done in Sweden by researchers including Johnny Ludvigsson, MD, PhD, of Linkoping University, patients either got two GAD-alum shots or two placebo shots. They all also got routine medical care for type 1 diabetes, including insulin shots.
GAD-alum treatment helped preserve insulin-secreting pancreatic cells, but only in patients whose type 1 diabetes had been diagnosed within the past six months.
GAD-alum shots didn't cure type 1 diabetes. All of the patients still needed insulin shots and their insulin secretion still declined during the study, which lasted for two and one-half years. But the decline in those cells wasn't as steep in the patients who got the GAD-alum shots.
GAD-alum appeared to be safe, but larger, longer studies are needed, notes an editorial published with the study.
"We should never forget that we are caring for children with a chronic disease. Before we think of efficacy, we must give first consideration to the short- and long-term safety of any immune intervention," writes editorialist Denise Faustman, MD, PhD, of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
Ludvigsson's team isn't presenting their study as the final word on GAD treatment, but as a first step.
The study was backed by Diamyd Medical, the Swedish company that made GAD-alum. In the journal, Ludvigsson reports getting grants from Diamyd Medical; one of Ludvigsson's fellow researchers is a Diamyd Medical employee. Editorialist Faustman discloses receiving lecture fees from TolerRX, a drug company that is working on immune system therapies for diseases including diabetes.
Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!
Your level is currently
If the level is below 70 and you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.
People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.
Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.
However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.
Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.
One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
Thank you for signing up for the WebMD Diabetes Newsletter!
You'll find tips and tricks as well as the latest news and research on Diabetes.
Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?
Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.