A small group of kids at high risk for developing Type I diabetes were recently given daily doses of oral insulin to see if it could help them to prevent the inevitability of diabetes. The results were promising.

What Researchers Hope to Find

The lead authority on the study of the oral insulin and its ability to prevent diabetes in high risk children is Ezio Bonifacio, PHD. Dr, Bonifacio is a professor at the Paul-Langerhans Institute in Dresden. Dr. Bonifacio said that the purpose of the study was to try and discover if oral insulin could be used to help at risk children to build up a tolerance that would boost the children’s immune systems and help them to resist Type I diabetes.

Promising Future for at risk children

The results of the study are not conclusive, but they are promising, and they do lend enough weight to the idea of using oral insulin like a preventative medication. More studies will be performed due to the successes of this study. Different doses of the insulin will be studied, and children with different risk factors will take part in the studies.

You must realize that the study needs to follow the children for several years after they start the oral insulin regimen to decide if the medication stopped them from developing the diabetes.

The Study

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation took part in the funding of a study using children between the ages of 2 and 7 who were at a higher than normal risk for developing Type I diabetes.

A small group of children took part in the study. The children were given varying amounts of the oral insulin. The children who received the highest possible dose of the oral medication had an increased protective immune response, meaning their risk of developing the disease was reduced. Only one in three of the children receiving the lowest possible dose had a protective immune response.

What is insulin?

Insulin is a natural hormone produced by the human body. Insulin converts the glucose we take in through our food into an energy we can burn. When a child develops diabetes their body no longer produces or uses the insulin properly to convert the glucose into energy. The result is a high level of glucose in the blood that can damage the eyes, and kidneys of the individual.

The need for a preventative treatment

Currently, there is not a preventative treatment to give children who might be at a high risk of developing Type I diabetes. High risk children are kids who have close family members who have this disease. At the present time children can be treated once they develop diabetes but there is no cure for diabetes, there are only medication and management.

If we could find a preventative treatment for this condition, we could drastically reduce the number of children who suffer through this condition. Right now more than 160,000 children who are under the age of 20 have Type I diabetes.