The first indication that it might be possible to prevent the progression of Type 1 diabetes — the form of the disease in which the immune system destroys insulin–producing ß cells in the pancreas — was signalled this week, with promising results from a small, short-term trial with a peptide from the protein hsp60 expressed in autoimmune disease.

In 24 November The Lancet, Itamar Raz and colleagues from the Hadassas-Hebrew University Medical School, Jerusalem and the Weitzmann Institute, Rehovot reported that injections of a small subunit of the hsp60 protein had halted the destruction of the ß cells in newly diagnosed patients.

"I want to avoid saying anything that would encourage parents to start ringing to get their children injections," said Hubert Kolb*, a professor at the Diabetes Research Institute, Dusseldorf, Germany, "but the message of this research is encouraging."

It is in many ways, he...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?