Saturday February 22, 4:53 PM
Peptide immunotherapy treatment for autoimmune diseases, particularly diabetes, has come under fire after it was found that 86 percent of diabetic mice treated with the therapy died as a result.
In humans type 1 diabetes is a serious autoimmune disease caused by the destruction of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas by the body's immune system. This leaves diabetics unable to regulate their blood sugar without injections of insulin and at greater risk of developing blindness, heart disease and nerve problems.
In contrast to the devastating side-effects seen in mice, only minor allergic reactions were observed in clinical trials on over 200 patients and these were limited to around 10 percent of patients. The frequency of minor reactions is similar to that seen with approved peptide based drugs like Copaxone, says a report in the journal BMC.
Peptide immunotherapy has the potential to improve the lives of people at risk from developing asthma or autoimmune diseases - from patients with type 1 diabetes to multiple sclerosis sufferers. But the safety of the treatment must be paramount.
The researchers recognise the potential of this therapy but stress that
"great care must be taken" when attempting to suppress any autoimmune diseases
using peptide immunotherapy. (ANI)
© 2003 ANI