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Type 1 diabetes is a common autoimmune disease due to destruction of pancreatic β cells, resulting in lifelong need for insulin. Evidence suggest that maintaining residual β-cell function can improve glucose control and reduce risk of hypoglycaemia and vascular complications. Non-clinical, preclinical and some preliminary clinical data suggest that low-dose interleukin-2 (IL-2) therapy could block pancreatic β cells destruction by increasing the number of functional regulatory T cells (Tregs) that inhibit islet-specific autoreactive effector T cells (Teffs). However, there is lack of data on the effect of low-dose IL-2 in newly diagnosed children and adolescents with T1D as well as lack of specific data on its potential effect on β-cell function. The ' Interleukin-2 Therapy of Autoimmunity in Diabetes (ITAD)' is a phase 2, multicentre, double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial in children and adolescents (6-18 years; having detectable C-peptide) initiated within 6 weeks of T1D diagnosis. A total of 45 participants will be randomised in a 2:1 ratio to receive either ultra-low dose IL-2 (aldesleukin), at a dose of 0.2 x 10 6 IU/m 2 twice-weekly, given subcutaneously, or placebo, for 6 months. The primary objective is to assess the effects of ultra-low dose aldesleukin administration on endogenous β-cell function as measured by frequent home dried blood spot (DBS) fasting and post-prandial C-peptide in children and adolescents with newly diagnosed T1D. The secondary objectives are: 1) to assess the efficacy of regular dosing of aldesleukin in increasing Treg levels; 2) to confirm the clinical safety and tolerability of ultra-low dose aldesleukin; 3) to assess changes in the immune system indicating benefit or potential risk for future gains/loss in β-cell function and immune function; 4) to assess treatment effect on glycaemic control. Trial registration: EudraCT 2017-002126-20 (06/02/2019).

Original publication




Journal article


Wellcome Open Res

Publication Date





Beta cells, C-peptide, Interleukin-2, Treg, adolescents, aldesleukin, children, immunotherapy, type 1 diabetes