Children participating in the type 1 diabetes prevention trial „POInT“ transfer from the first to the second phase of the study when turning three years old. Now the first participant from the study site in Dresden at the Center for Regenrative Therapies TU Dresden (CRTD) has reached this personal milestone.

Happy birthday! Eddie from Saxony has turned three years old this month. This makes him the first child participating in the type 1 diabetes prevention trial POInT to begin with the follow-up phase where the daily intake of the study medication is no longer necessary. This study medication consists of either insulin powder or placebo which the young participants receive once a day with their food until they are three years old.

The idea behind this? The scientists from the CRTD are working together with other research institutions through an international platform (“The Global Platform for the Prevention of Autoimmune Diabetes” or GPPAD) to find a way to delay or even prevent the onset of type 1 diabetes in children with an increased risk of developing the disease. The insulin powder, administered orally, is supposed to train the immune system not to attack insulin in the body – a main reason for the emergence of type 1 diabetes.

The fact that Eddie no longer needs to take the medication does not mean that the study is over for him, though. “The children continue to be examined regularly until their 7th birthday or until the trial is finished”, explains Prof. Reinhard Berner who oversees the POInT study in Dresden together with Prof. Ezio Bonifacio. “That way, we make sure to recognise type 1 diabetes early on if it develops and we also need the data to see whether our approach towards prevention was successful. Therefore, we are very grateful to our participating families who are such a vital part of our work towards a world without type 1 diabetes.”

Eddie’s mother is glad to be a part of the POInT trial: “From day one we had a good feeling that our child is in the best hands”, she says. “The scientists here have given us great counsel and were approachable for questions at all times.”

In order to take part in the POInT study, newborns and babies until the age of 4 months are screened for an increased risk of developing type 1 diabetes. Only a few drops of blood are needed for the screening. Parents have the opportunity to test their children free of charge in in Bavaria, Lower Saxony, Saxony and Thuringia.

GPPAD is funded by The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.