Waking Beta Cells Study

Study Name: Targeting Beta Cell Dysfunction with Verapamil in Longstanding T1D
Principal Investigator: Carla Greenbaum, MD
Phone: 1-800-888-4187
Email: Diabetes@BenaroyaResearch.org

WHAT IS THE WAKING BETA CELLS: VERAPAMIL STUDY?

We are recruiting Seattle-area adults for this JDRF-funded study to test whether the study drug verapamil can temporarily “wake-up” beta-cells in type 1 diabetes patients with longstanding diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the cells that produce insulin (beta cells in the pancreas).  As beta cells are destroyed by immune cells, the body’s ability to produce insulin is decreased and diabetes develops.  After diagnosis, the remaining beta cells continue to be attacked by the immune system.  The beta cells stop working well and then most eventually die off.

To make insulin, beta cells first make pro-insulin.  This is then split into insulin and other products.  Only insulin itself has effects on blood sugar.  Beta cells that are not working well can’t make fully formed active insulin but they can make pro-insulin.   We have recently found that many people who have longstanding type 1 diabetes have beta cells that make pro-insulin, but not insulin.  We call these “sleeping beta cells”.

The objective of the Waking Beta Cells study is to determine whether verapamil can wake up the sleeping beta cells, at least for a short while.

Verapamil is an FDA approved drug for other conditions such as hypertension and headache prevention. 

WHO CAN PARTICIPATE?

You may be eligible to participate if you:

  • were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at least three years ago
  • are age 18 through 50
  • live in the greater Seattle area
  • are in good general health

WHAT WILL STUDY PARTICIPANTS BE ASKED TO DO?

First, a researcher will have a phone conversation with you to review basic eligibility criteria. If you meet basic criteria, you’ll be invited to Benaroya Research Institute’s clinical research center at Virginia Mason Hospital for a four-hour screening visit that will include an MMTT (mixed meal tolerance test). This visit will be repeated within a twelve-month period.

If you are found to be eligible to participate, you will visit us up to six times during a 14-week period, and administer the study drug at home between visits. Verapamil is taken daily by mouth.

If you’d like to participate, please call us at 800-888-4187 or email Diabetes@BenaroyaResearch.org.