The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust has announced five grants totaling $52 million in support of genetic screening and prevention efforts for type 1 diabetes (T1D).
The grants will support the Global Platform for the Prevention of Autoimmune Diabetes (GPPAD) — a consortium of European research institutes created to provide an international infrastructure for type 1 diabetes primary prevention trials — and its inaugural trial, the Primary Oral Insulin Trial (POInT). Led by Helmholtz Zentrum München in partnership with the Technical University of Munich, Lund University, the University of Oxford, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Technische Universität Dresden, Hannoversche Kinderheilanstalt, Instytut Matki i Dziecka, and Medical University of Warsaw, GPPAD will serve as a multicenter platform for T1D primary prevention trials and research focused on the crucial period before autoimmunity starts.
In addition to supporting expansion of the existing GPPAD network in Germany, the grants will fund start-up activities in Sweden, the United Kingdom, Belgium, and Poland, including a randomized controlled phase IIb trial designed to determine whether daily administration of high-dose oral insulin in early life can prevent T1D-associated autoimmunity.
"The trial targets the first years of life, a period when the immune system is learning what is safe versus what is dangerous," said trial leader Anette Ziegler. "Through oral tolerance, we have a real chance to help the immune system learn that insulin is 'self' and thereby correct the defect that leads to autoimmunity."