OUR GOAL: A WORLD WITHOUT 1
WE RESEARCH. WE DEVELOP. WE FIGHT.
FOR A WORLD WITHOUT TYPE 1 DIABETES.
A world without type 1 diabetes: vision or soon a reality?
Type 1 diabetes is usually only diagnosed once the affected child’s symptoms have become severe. Thanks to research carried out around the world, this need no longer be the case.
- Fr1daplus: early detection of type 1 diabetes
- Freder1k: early detection of the risk of developing type 1 diabetes
- SINT1A: Preventive treatment
- POInT: Preventive treatment
With the Fr1daplus study in Bavaria, children aged two to ten are tested free of charge for an early stage of type 1 diabetes. In Lower Saxony, children who take part in the Fr1dolin study up to their seventh birthday can be assessed – also free of charge – for the presence of an early stage of type 1 diabetes. This means that children who are developing type 1 diabetes can be identified early and treated in good time, thus avoiding dangerous metabolic problems.
But GPPAD goes one step further. Recent research shows that, in children who have an increased risk of developing type 1 diabetes, the mistaken reaction of the immune system that leads to the development of type 1 diabetes often begins when the children are infants or toddlers. This is why the researchers and doctors working together through GPPAD want to prevent the development of this immune response as early as possible. To achieve this, each child’s risk of type 1 diabetes must first be determined. A new test looks at particular genes linked to type 1 diabetes. In Germany, parents in Bavaria, Lower Saxony, Saxony, and Thuringia can have their newborns up to seven days old tested for this increased risk free of charge, as part of the Freder1k study. Babies who have a parent or sibling with type 1 diabetes can participate in the Freder1k study throughout Germany, no matter where they live. These studies are being run across Europe under different names and, as part of GPPAD, identify if there is an increased genetic risk of type 1 diabetes in newborns up to seven days old.
If the child has is an increased risk of developing type 1 diabetes, we invite them to participate in a study that aims to prevent type 1 diabetes autoimmunity.
The SINT1A study is investigating whether a probiotic called B. infantis can prevent the development of type 1 diabetes autoimmunity.
Type 1 diabetes autoimmunity often develops in the first few years of life. It is likely that early childhood development and environmental factors contribute to the disease progression and the development of autoimmunity. Children with an increased risk of type 1 diabetes are particularly susceptible to mistaken reactions by their immune system. This is why it is advisable to take preventive steps to train the immune system in the first few years of life.
We take the following approach in the SINT1A study: By giving a probiotic called B. infantis to babies, we aim to favourably influence the development of the immune system at a very early age. This may prevent the immune system from targeting and destroying the body’s own cells, such as insulin-producing cells. Previous studies, such as the German BABYDIET study and the international TEDDY study, showed that children with type 1 diabetes can suffer from problems with the maturation of their intestinal flora as infants. These problems with maturation can have various causes and are also observed in connection with the occurrence of allergies and other diseases of the immune system. In type 1 diabetes, problems with maturation of the intestinal flora could promote the growth of bacteria that have an unfavourable effect on the development of the immune system, thus promoting type 1 diabetes autoimmunity and, as a consequence, the development of the autoimmune disease type 1 diabetes.
The SINT1A study therefore aims to test whether giving the natural probiotic B. infantis as a supplement to the daily diet can ensure healthy development of the intestinal flora, and whether this can reduce or prevent the mistaken and pathogenic immune responses that cause type 1 diabetes, as well as other autoimmune diseases, such as coeliac disease. The results are evaluated compared to a placebo.
If this treatment with the probiotic B. infantis is effective in preventing the development of type 1 diabetes, this would be a significant milestone. Type 1 diabetes could go from being an unavoidable fate to a disease that can be preventively treated.
If the child has an increased risk for type 1 diabetes, we invite them to take part in the POInT (Primary Oral Insulin Trial) prevention study. The aim of this study is to determine whether daily administration of insulin powder with food can prevent the disease from developing, in comparison with a placebo. The results of a pilot study on this were promising. There have been no side effects to date.
If this treatment with insulin powder is effective in preventing the development of type 1 diabetes, this would be a significant milestone. Type 1 diabetes could go from being an unavoidable fate to a disease that can be preventively treated.
We are working to achieve a world without type 1 diabetes.