Sanford Health: One of Fourteen Participants in Diabetes Study
Sanford Project T-Rex Study gathers 110 patients to see if T-regulatory cells can reverse Type 1 Diabetes
FARGO, N.D. — North Dakota has one of the highest rates of Type 1 Diabetes patients in the nation.
However, at Sanford Health in Fargo, a clinical test can be a game changer for a disease’s impact on children’s lives.
In a partnership with Caladrius Biosciences, Sanford Health has launched the Sanford Project T–Rex Study to study how patients react when their own blood is used to fight off harmful antibodies.
“What this study does is take children who have already developed diabetes but still have some of those cells that are capable of making insulin, and we take their own blood and we try to extract a product called t–regulatory cells,” said Dr. Luis Casas, an Endocrinologist at Sanford Health in Fargo.
These t–regulatory cells are crucial in killing antibodies that attack the pancreas.
A higher number of t–regulatory cells makes a patient less dependent on external insulin injections, and enables a better quality of life.
Already in Phase Two of the project, 110 patients have agreed in the study, meaning that the project is in full enrollment.
All of the patients are under the age of 18 and have Type 1 Diabetes.
They start by giving a blood sample, which is shipped to California to extract the t–regulatory cells, and then infused back into their bodies.
The double–blind study takes place over the course of two years, with monitoring periods every two to three months.
Having a full enrollment helps doctors find trends quicker.
“When you analyze the data, you can determine whether it’s real because we have enough people to know that it’s real statistically,” said Casas.
The project initially started with Sanford locations in Fargo and Sioux Falls, but has expanded to 13 other locations nationwide.
Doctor Casas hopes to get the full overview of the test results by 2019.