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Julia Greenstein Part 3, Gleevec Treatment for Diabetes

In part 3 of this Exclusive Interview, Dr. Julia Greenstein talks with Diabetes in Control Publisher Steve Freed during the ADA meeting in San Diego, California about a cancer drug that is showing potential in the treatment or even prevention of diabetes.

Dr. Julia Greenstein, PhD, is the Vice President of Discovery Research at the JDRF.

Transcript of this video segment:

Steve Freed: Now one of the results you’re presenting here is the Gleevec (imatinib) I guess. Something like that, study. Maybe you can give us a little bit of information about that.

Julia Greenstein: So Gleevec is a really interesting drug. It’s actually a drug that comes from the cancer field. It actually is a cure for CML and one of our basic science researchers found actually now almost 7 years ago that Gleevec had an effect both on the beta cell and on the immune response, and in an animal model of type 1 diabetes, could prevent or even reverse type 1. And so together with that investigator, JDRF elected to start a clinical trial in people with recent onset type 1 diabetes to see whether this cancer drug would have an impact on the immune response and on the beta cell in a person who has recent onset. And the results are getting presented this afternoon and we’re very excited that they’ve seen a signal in that population of individuals. Now it’s still very early day in terms of its data analysis, but it’s clear that we have prolonged what’s considered the “honeymoon period.” So there is some impact on the beta cell function and people who have type 1 diabetes, if they can maintain a little bit of beta cell function, we feel that there will be a clinical benefit in making it easier to control their diabetes. So again, as Aaron eluted to, a step to that cure. If we can make it easier for people, decrease the burden of resent onset type 1 diabetes, that gives us one clinical handle and then we can optimize the use of this drug and in combination with other drugs and hopefully have a more substantial clinical impact.

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