Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

Reported in the June 23 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, this finding represents an important step towards finding ways to prevent and stop Type 1 diabetes by altering the clinical course of the disease, according to JDRF.

The Phase II trial involving 80 newly diagnosed patients was conducted in collaboration with a team of clinicians and researchers from France, Belgium, Germany and the UK. It was led by Lucienne Chatenoud, MD, PhD, of the Hopital Necker (Paris), and Dr. Bart Keymeulen of VUB-Academic Hospital and Brussels Free University-VUB (Brussels, Belgium) was the clinical coordinator for the trial.

The study was one of the projects undertaken by the JDRF Center for Beta Cell Therapy in Europe, directed by Daniel Pipeleers, MD, PhD, also of the Brussels institutions.

The researchers found that patients who received the antibody over the course of six days immediately following their diagnosis continued to produce their own insulin and needed less supplemental insulin to maintain normal blood glucose levels, as compared with patients who received a placebo. That benefit was apparent at 6, 12 and 18 months after the treatment, they said, suggesting that the protective effect is lasting, although for how long is not yet known.

Side effects were minor and short-lived, including flu and mono-like symptoms.

The ChAglyCD3 drug that was used in the study is a humanized, non-mitogenic anti-CD3 antibody, conceived and manufactured by Drs. Herman Waldman and Geoff Hale at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology (Oxford, UK).

“These results provide enormous hope that we can preserve residual beta cell function by modulating the autoimmune attack and in fact change the clinical course of Type 1 diabetes,” said Richard Insel, MD, executive vice president for research at JDRF. “There is no other current treatment that can actually change the clinical course once the disease has begun.”

The European trial extends a JDRF study – published in 2002 – using a similar antibody and conducted by Kevan Herold, MD, of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons (New York), and Jeffrey Bluestone, PhD, director of the JDRF Center for Islet Transplantation at the University of California, San Francisco.

Institute focuses on innovation, improvement

The UK’s National Health Service has launched the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, designed to encourage “modernization, innovation and learning in the NHS,” in turn resulting in an increased uptake of new healthcare products, treatments and procedures.

Above all, said UK Health Minister Jane Kennedy, the institute will improve care offered to patients.

She said the institute “will focus on a small number of big priorities at any one time,” with its initial priorities including:

  • Reducing methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and other healthcare-associated infection.
  • Achieving the NHS’s 18-week waiting target.
  • Improving productivity in the NHS.
  • Innovation in care outside hospitals and long-term conditions.

Kennedy said, “I hope that from the outset the institute will rise to these challenges by making the best use of the skills, thinking and resources that it has within the NHS in order to lead the way by recommending changes that establish best practice across the NHS.”

NHS Chief Executive Nigel Crisp said the institute “will help us tackle some of the biggest challenges in the NHS through [innovative] solutions, strengthened leadership and – crucially – shared learning.”

The institute, established as of July 1, is led by chairperson Yve Buckland and Chief Executive Bernard Crump, who previously was chief executive of Shropshire and Staffordshire Strategic Health Authority.

European HQ for U.S. laser maker

Cutera (Brisbane, California), a provider of laser and other light-based aesthetic systems to the professional aesthetic market, has opened a European headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, a facility that will provide sales, marketing, service and finance support for Cutera’s direct and distributor organizations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The new facility also will allow the company to hold regional training seminars, including patient demonstrations.

As part of the expansion, Cutera now offers direct sales, service and marketing support in Switzerland to complement its existing direct sales organizations in Germany, France and Spain, and the company also has formed strategic relationships with new distributors in other markets in Europe.

“Cutera has seen significant growth in its European business based on its innovative product technology, which includes the new Titan application,” said President and CEO Kevin Connors. “This expansion is designed to establish greater focus in the area and increase our market share.”

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