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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Israeli company develops peptide to control Type 1 diabetes

More smart Jews.... An Israeli company has developed a synthetic peptide to control Type 1 diabetes (which is the one that some people get in childhood).
In Type 1 diabetes, a haywire immune response actually kills the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Without any way to stop this destruction, the only treatment is daily injections of insulin.

"There have been many approaches to try to treat this disease, because it's very complicated -- partly genetic and partly environmental," explains Dagan, who has a doctorate in immunology from Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science and worked for several biotech companies in Israel and the US. "The immune system itself is very complicated and we still do not understand its full mechanism of action."

Andromeda's trademarked DiaPep277 is a synthetic peptide derived from a human protein that modulates the immune system. This radically different approach to diabetes is meant for patients at an early stage of the disease.

"The goal is preservation rather than treatment," Dagan says. "If you still have some [insulin-producing] cells left functioning, we can preserve them with this substance."

In the first Phase III studies being conducted at 40 medical centers in Europe, South Africa and Israel, diabetes patients aged 16 to 45 have been receiving DiaPep277 injections once every three months. The study began in 2005 and is ending late this year.

In the confirmatory Phase III study, running from 2010 through early 2014, Andromeda is concentrating on patients from ages 20 to 45 within six months of diagnosis, so that researchers may differentiate between results in teens and adults. This trial is being carried out at hospitals in Israel, three Canadian provinces, 16 US states (plus the District of Columbia) and a dozen European countries.

To verify whether the peptide is working its magic, throughout the clinical trial period the subjects are tested to measure their ability to secrete insulin.
Clal Biotechnology Industries owns 84% of the company. The other 16% is owned by Teva.

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