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Nutritional primary prevention of type 1 diabetes

Contract number : QLK1-2001-00372
Contract type : Shared Cost Project
Total cost : € 1.758.219
EC contribution : € 1.653.470
Starting date : 1/05/2002
Duration : 48 Months
Scientific Officer : Alkmini Katsada
Project website : not yet available
Prof. Dr Hans Åkerblom
University of Helsinki
Hospital of Children and Adolescents
Institute of Clinical Medicine
Stenbäckinkatu 11
00014 University of Helsinki
Tel.: +35 89 47172763
Fax: +35 89 47174704
E-mail: hans.akerblom @ hus.fio

Type 1 diabetes in children is a major health problem in Europe, and the incidence of the disease is increasing. The consequences and costs of Type 1 diabetes presenting in childhood are immense. Type 1 diabetes develops in genetically susceptible individuals, if one or several environmental factors lead to autoimmune destruction of the pancreatic beta-cells. Cow milk proteins are one of the main candidates among the environmental factors. The objective of the present proposal is to determine whether denial of nutritional cow milk proteins for at least the first 6 months of life reduces the incidence of Type 1 diabetes in children at increased genetic risk of developing the disease and/or the appearance of diabetes associated antibodies by the age of 6 years. The proposal is based on a pilot study in man indicating that it may be possible to modify spontaneous beta-cell autoimmunity by dietary intervention.


The overall objective of the project is to determine whether weaning to a casein hydrolysate (Nutramigen TM) during at least the first 6 months of life reduces the incidence of Type 1 diabetes in genetically susceptible children. An important study question is, whether casein hydrolysate effects are due to the avoidance of complex weaning diets such as cow's milk based formula. This question will be addressed by correlating cow's milk immune responses with autoimmune markers and with diabetes.

Within the time frames of the present application, the trial will answer specific questions:

  • Specific Aim I: Will the intervention reduce the frequency of autoimmune markers of beta-cell destruction during the first 6 years of life in subjects with increased genetic risk for Type I diabetes?
  • Specific Aim II: Are there relationships between cow's milk antibodies, a measure of cow's milk exposure, and autoimmunity to islet antigens?
(expected) Results and achievements

We will recruit and identify newborn infants with an increased genetic risk for Type 1 diabetes (Milestone 1), implement a dietary intervention in infancy (Milestone 2) to attempt to decrease the incidence of the disease (Milestone 3), and collect blood samples at follow-up visits to measure the effect of the intervention on the appearance of immunological markers of Type 1 diabetes (Milestone 4).


University of Turku
Institute of Microbiology and Pathology
Kiinamyllynkatu 13
20520 Turku
University of Tampere
Tampere School of Public Health
Medisiinainkatu 3
33014 University of Tampere
National Public Health Institute
Department of Molecular Medicine
Mannerheimintie 166
00300 Helsinki
Hannoversche Kinderheilanstalt
Kinderkrankenhaus Auf Der Bult
Diabetes-Zentrum für Kinder und Jugendliche
Janusz-Korczak-Allee 12
30173 Hannover
University Campus Bio-Medico
Department of Medicine, Diabetes and Endocrinology
Via Emilio Longoni 83
00155 Rome
Diabetes Unit
Department of Internal Medicine
Azienda Ospedaliera Brotzu
Via Peretti
09134 Cagliari
University Hospital Rotterdam
Sophia Children's Hospital
Department of Pediatrics
Dr Molewaterplein 60
PO Box 2060
3000 CB Rotterdam
The Netherlands
Hospital de Cruces- Osakidetza
Endocrinology and Diabetes Research Department
Plaza de Cruces S/N
48903 Baracaldo- Vizcaya
Internal Medicine II
Hospital Clinico San Carlos
C/Martin Lagos S/N
28040 Madrid
Linköpings Universitet
Faculty of Health Sciences
Department of Health and Environment
Division of Pediatrics
58185 Linköping
University Children's Hospital
Department of Endocrinology/Diabetology
Steinwiesstraße 75
8032 Zurich
University of Tartu
Department of Pediatrics
Lunini Straße 6
51014 Tartu
Semmelweis University
Department of Pediatrics
Bókay Janós Street 53
1083 Budapest
London Health Sciences Centre Research Inc.
339 Windermere Rd.
PO Box 5339
N6A 5A5 London
Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
3705 Fifth Avenue
PA 15213 Pittsburgh
United States of America

Fifth Framework Programme

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