A ground-breaking clinical trial has been launched in Cardiff to help prevent and manage the chronic autoimmune disease, type 1 diabetes.

The Clinical Research Facility (CRF) at Cardiff & Vale University Health Board (UHB) has dosed the first patient in the world with the new investigational drug. The drug aims to help the regrowth of insulin making ‘beta’ cells of the pancreas, which are lost in patients living with the disease. Despite being an early phase trial, the CRF has now dosed two patients with this new drug.

Those with type 1 diabetes are dependent on insulin, but if this clinical trial works, the regrowth – or regeneration – of beta cells may mean those with type 1 diabetes becoming far less dependent on insulin injections. The benefits of the new drug would reduce life-long conditions and complications associated with the chronic disease.
Patients who have taken part in the trial so far have spoken very highly of the treatment and the overall experience they have received at Cardiff & Vale UHB.

So far, the drug appears to have had no major side-effects, but it’s too early to say if it has been effective. Cardiff’s CRF team are hoping to attract up to eight adult volunteers to take part in the clinical trial who have had diabetes for more than two years.

Dr Mohammad Alhadj Ali, who is the sub investigator working on the study in Cardiff, said, ‘Despite everything achieved in diabetes care, advances in prevention haven’t really occurred. More insulin-producing beta cells are needed for those with this form of diabetes and it is estimated that 90 per cent of patients with type 1 diabetes have less than five per cent of insulin making cells left.’