Interpreting Key Trials

Prevention of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus: an overview of three trials

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Genetic, immune, and metabolic testing can reveal a person’s risk of developing insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), and three large clinical trials are planned or underway to see if interventions can prevent IDDM in persons at risk.


Researchers in diabetes prevention trials are screening first- and second-degree relatives of probands with IDDM for islet-cell antibodies. In the Cow’s Milk Avoidance Trial, infant siblings of probands with IDDM will be randomized to receive either a baby formula containing a non-antigenic protein hydrolyzate or a standard cow’s milk-based formula. The Diabetes Prevention Trial-Type I is randomly assigning subjects at high risk (more than a 50% probability of developing IDDM) to either receive insulin injections or undergo observation alone; subjects at intermediate risk (25% to 50%) will receive either oral insulin or placebo. In the European Nicotinamide Diabetes Intervention Trial, subjects receive either nicotinamide or placebo. If any of these trials show that IDDM can be prevented, then large-scale screening of children for IDDM risk factors may prove beneficial.



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