Vaccine For Type 1 Diabetes One Step Closer To Reality

DENVER (CBS4)– Scientists have taken the first step in developing a vaccine for type 1 diabetes thanks to the research of doctors in Colorado and around the world.

Children at risk for type 1 diabetes, who were given daily doses of oral insulin, developed a protective immune response to the disease that researchers say could possibly law the groundwork for a vaccine against the chronic illness.

The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Dr. Georgeanna Klingensmith at the Barbara Davis Center located at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Center, worked on the U.S. portion of the research.

“We gave them oral insulin,” said Klingensmith.

Klingensmith is cautiously optimistic that jumping the first hurdle will eventually lead to an insulin vaccine to help children like Madison Wilson.

Six-year-old Madison was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes a year ago.

Dr. Georgeanna Klingensmith and diabetes patient Madison (credit: CBS)

“She was in the ICU at Children’s Hospital for three days, it was terrifying, awful,” said Madison’s mother Ashley Bills.

Klingensmith led the U.S. portion of the pilot study of 25 children at high risk for developing type 1 diabetes.

They gave oral insulin to 15 of the children, the capsules were broken open and the powdered insulin sprinkled on food.

In this study, children who had a strong family history of type 1 diabetes were given oral insulin or a placebo once a day for three to 18 months to determine if the insulin could provoke an immune response without side-effects.

The capsules were broken open and the powdered insulin sprinkled on food. The children were between two and seven years old. Only two out of 10 children treated with a placebo showed any immune response.

But among those receiving oral insulin, the immunity increased with the dosage.

•16.7 percent of children who received 2.5 mg of insulin a day saw an immune response.

•33 percent of children who received 7.5 mg of insulin showed an immune response.

•83.3 percent of children taking 67.5 mg of insulin a day demonstrated an immune response.

“There was a protective immune response that we were very excited to see,” said Klingensmith.

Researchers are looking to a larger trial.

“And if the findings are confirmed we might be able to develop some kind of oral preventive vaccine to children,” said Klingensmith.

“If I could have avoided Madison getting sick or diabetes at all I definitely would have done it,” said Bills.

About the Barbara Davis Center at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus: The Barbara Davis Center (BDC) specializes in type 1 diabetes research and care for children and adults. It is one of the largest diabetes institutes in the world. Clinicians, clinical researchers and basic biomedical scientists work at the BDC to prevent and cure type 1 diabetes and to find the most effective treatments. The BDC is managed as a distinct administrative unit of the University of Colorado School of Medicine and has a dedicated building on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colorado. For more information, visit

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