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Halifax man takes part in 'very promising' drug trials for type 1 diabetes

Two of the four participants that completed the 18-month trial in Toronto no longer need insulin
(stock photo)

A Halifax man is taking part in what's has been described as 'very promising' national drug trials for type 1 diabetes.

This all started over a year ago after Andrew Beaver, 24, took a blood test which found his glucose were a little bit high.

"It was nothing that my doctor was concerned about and then about eight months later in July, I noticed I lost about 12 percent of my body weight," he said. 

Beaver then took a glucose test at home and found his levels were roughly six times the normal level, prompting him to go to an ER where he was officially diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

Not long after, he found about a clinical drug trial taking place in Toronto where two of the four participants that completed the 18-month trial no longer need insulin.

The drug being used in the trials is called Ustekinumab, which is already on the market and used to treat psoriasis and Crohn's disease.

Dr. Bruce Perkins, Director of the Leadership Sinai Centre for Diabetes at Mount Sinai Hospital Toronto, told CityNews Halifax his team is hopeful they can help people make their own insulin as oppose to injecting it themselves.

"We're giving medication to target the immune system that is, at that point, still attacking those insulin producing cells to try and prevent that continued destruction," said Perkins. "We're hoping that people continue making their own insulin but even if they're not fully making their own insulin, they'd be making some of their own. There's long term benefits to that and it just makes diabetes management that much easier."

According to Perkins, the study has been very promising so far, but he adds with a randomized clinical trial, some patients are getting the real drug and some are getting the placebo.

He said they won't know until the trial is completely wrapped up if drug works or not, adding they are looking for volunteers to take part in the clinical trials.

Perkins said they are looking for people aged 18 to 35 with a new diagnosis of type 1 diabetes within the last 100 days.

Anyone interested in volunteering for the trial can head to Mount Sinai's website for more information.

Chris Halef

About the Author: Chris Halef

Chris is a reporter for and NEWS 95.7. In 2018, he won the RTDNA Dave Rogers Award for best short feature.
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