The prevention of diabetes and its devastating complications is the prime goal of diabetes care. In immune-mediated type 1 diabetes, beta cell destruction can be predicted with increasing confidence both before and after diagnosis, thus allowing the development of preventative strategies. Multicentre clinical trials with the natural products insulin and nicotinamide have been launched, but the results will only be available in a few years time. Meanwhile, observational studies in large representative risk groups can help to refine the selection of subjects with a more homogenous risk for beta cell destruction, thereby reducing the need for large sample sizes. The comparison between biological markers and disease progression will help to define surrogate disease end-points that can be monitored before the hard clinical end-points of hyperglycaemia or remission. These advances will facilitate the start of new pilot trials to identify relatively safe candidate interventions adapted to disease stage.
Copyright 2001 Harcourt Publishers Ltd.