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Trying to Reset the Clock on Type 1 Diabetes

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Science  12 Aug 2011:
Vol. 333, Issue 6044, pp. 819-821
DOI: 10.1126/science.333.6044.819

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Since the late 1990s, funders have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into preventing type 1 diabetes before its first symptoms appear, or bringing it to a halt in newly diagnosed patients. The stakes were high. Would the treatments work? Would they hurt the mostly young patients who develop type 1 diabetes? Earlier this summer, a slew of results was presented at the annual American Diabetes Association meeting in San Diego, California. They were mostly disappointing. Ethical, logistical, and financial constraints mandated clinical trials in patients less likely to be helped by the drugs. Companies, under pressure to perform and uncertain about where to set the goalposts, designed trials that many veterans of the field say were unlikely to succeed. Several of the drugs tested have helped protect the pancreas. But so far, researchers say, the benefit isn't enough to justify approving them, especially for a disease that's rarely fatal.