UF Health MedMatters

Drug slows progression of Type 1 diabetes

In a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine on Nov. 19, Michael J. Haller, MD, University of Florida Diabetes Institute professor and chief of pediatric endocrinology, and colleagues demonstrated that Simponi (golimumab), a drug commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis, can be used to slow down the process that causes Type 1 diabetes in recently diagnosed patients.

Golimumab is a human monoclonal antibody specific for tumor necrosis factor α. The drug has already been approved for the treatment of several autoimmune conditions in youth. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease characterized by progressive loss of pancreatic beta cells.

The study examined whether golimumab could preserve beta-cell function. Participants included children and young adults, ages 6 to 21, with newly diagnosed overt (stage 3) Type 1 diabetes. About two-thirds of the 84 participants were assigned to the golimumab group and the remainder to the placebo group.

Dr. Haller and his colleagues concluded that golimumab resulted in better endogenous insulin production and less exogenous insulin use than the placebo.

“These observations prove that we are indeed making progress toward the development of therapies that will one day prevent and reverse Type 1 diabetes,” Haller said.

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