Twins Volunteer for Research
Megan and Madeline Coder are 11-year-old identical twins who like to read and practice ballet. They live in Battle Ground, Wash., near the Oregon border. But during the last two years, they’ve boarded the train frequently to visit Seattle. They’re both participating in type 1 diabetes research studies at Benaroya Research Institute.
“Megan was 9 years old when I noticed her thirst and trips to the bathroom increasing,” says her mother, Keri Coder. “My sister was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 12, so I was aware of the symptoms. I hoped Megan had something else, but type 1 diabetes was the culprit. As a result, Megan’s nine siblings participated in the TrialNet screening to see if they had type 1 diabetes or were at risk. Madeline was the only one who had four of the five autoantibodies present. Her results qualified her to participate in the TrialNet Anti-CD3 Prevention Study.”
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system makes proteins that attack and destroy the cells in the body that produce insulin. These proteins, called autoantibodies, can be found in the blood up to 10 years before someone is diagnosed with diabetes.
Led by BRI, Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet is an international network that conducts clinical studies aimed at preventing, delaying and reversing the progression of type 1 diabetes. In the TrialNet Anti-CD3 Prevention Study, researchers are studying whether a medication called teplizumab can help stop or slow down the destruction of insulin-producing cells in people at risk for type 1 diabetes.
“I want to help with this research to see if others, including me, can maybe be prevented from having diabetes,” says Madeline. “I hope diabetes can be both cured and prevented.” The study required Madeline to have infusions at BRI for 14 days in a row, with each visit lasting about four hours. She went to BRI five more times in the first year, and now she visits twice a year until the study is over or she develops type 1 diabetes.
Madeline’s twin sister, Megan, is participating in the BRIDge Study of Type 1 Diabetes. She is donating her blood and health information to help biorepository scientists understand how and why autoimmune diseases develop, identify how genetic risk factors influence the immune system to cause disease and develop targets for new therapies.
“I am very glad that both my sister and I have a chance to be there to help,” says Megan. “I hope that the research will find a way to prevent diabetes for my twin sister and many others that I don’t know. I want to thank BRI for doing this!”
Their mother, Keri, states, “My sister died in her early 30s from complications of type 1 diabetes, and my mom was diagnosed when she was 60 years old. We are hopeful that preventative and curative solutions can be found! We really love the staff at BRI. They are very kind, encouraging and supportive of the girls in their study and personal lives. We are all happy that we’ve participated.”