Good-for-Nothing Diabetes Vaccine

Insulin production in type 1 diabetics not improved by vaccine

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Sometimes, researchers will do a study on animals and think they have found a way to stop a disease. Then that finding simply won't translate to humans. This happened recently with a type 1 diabetes vaccine.

A vaccine did not help patients with type 1 diabetes, according to a study published in The Lancet. When they were given the vaccine, patients still had problems making insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar levels.

"A new type 1 diabetes vaccine isn't working."

In type 1 diabetes, a patient's pancreas does not produce enough insulin to control blood sugar levels. This vaccine - called glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) - was made to increase the amount of insulin being produced by the pancreas.

In past studies, the vaccine worked on animals. In this study, Jay S. Skyler, M.D., from the University of Miami, and colleagues wanted to see if the vaccine would work in humans recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

They found that the vaccine did not change how much insulin patients' bodies were making.

The study's authors write that even though the vaccine worked on animals, figuring out how to make it work in humans is still a very difficult task.

In order to test the vaccine, researchers gave one of three treatments to 145 patients who had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes for less than 100 days. One group of patients was treated with three injections of 20 micrograms of GAD plus aluminum hydroxide. A second grope received two injections of 20 micrograms of GAD plus aluminum hydroxide and one injection of aluminum hydroxide. The third group got three injections of aluminum hydroxide.

The researchers found that C-peptide levels (which are used to measure insulin) stayed about the same across all three groups. HbA1c levels (which are used to measure blood sugar), insulin use, and the amount of harmful events were also the same across all groups.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
June 28, 2011
Last Updated:
June 29, 2011