Can a Pill Keep Kids from Developing Diabetes?

Amanda Fitzer was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was 2 years old. Her sister Olivia is at risk for developing diabetes because she has the same antibodies as her sister, antibodies that indicate her immune system has started to attack cells that make insulin.

Olivia volunteered to participate in a new NIH study at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital and Stanford University Medical Center. The study is specifically targeting children at risk of developing diabetes to see if oral insulin could delay onset of the disease for 2-3 years.

Every day Olivia takes a tablet. She does not know if it is an oral insulin pill or a placebo. Then every six months, she has a glucose tolerance test and is administered a blood test to see if she is developing diabetes.

Dr. Darrell Wilson from Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital says the oral insulin has “the possibility to interact with the immune system to quiet the attack on cells that make insulin” and hopes that oral insulin may even prevent the disease entirely in some patients.

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