Immunomodulation with heat shock protein DiaPep277 to preserve beta cell function in type 1 diabetes - an update

Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2010 Feb;10(2):265-72. doi: 10.1517/14712590903555176.


Importance of the field: Type 1 diabetes is a chronic autoimmune disease in which pancreatic beta cells are selectively destroyed. Ultimately hyperglycemia develops and insulin substitution becomes necessary. Immunomodulation aims at arresting this autoimmune attack. DiaPep277, the major T-cell epitope of heat shock protein 60 (hsp60), has been shown to be effective as a modulator of the immune system in type 1 diabetes and is the focus of this review.

Areas covered in this review: A literature search of Pubmed listed publications covering 1990 - 2009 and a website search of the licensing company were performed.

What the reader will gain: DiaPep277 has been successfully employed in animal models and has been investigated in Phase I - III studies in humans. A combined analysis of the Phase II trials showed a significant preservation of beta cell function in adults without adverse effects, but HbA1c was not changed. A Phase III clinical trial is ongoing, and a second Phase III trial will start in early 2010. Addressing the underlying autoimmune process is the call of the future in type 1 diabetes.

Take home message: Use of Diapep277 is a promising therapeutic strategy currently being tested in Phase III trials.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chaperonin 60 / adverse effects
  • Chaperonin 60 / therapeutic use*
  • Clinical Trials, Phase I as Topic
  • Clinical Trials, Phase II as Topic
  • Clinical Trials, Phase III as Topic
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / drug effects
  • Immunologic Factors / adverse effects
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use*
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / drug effects*
  • Peptide Fragments / adverse effects
  • Peptide Fragments / therapeutic use*
  • T-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Vaccination


  • Chaperonin 60
  • DiaPep 277
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Peptide Fragments