Italy's Dompe has enrolled the first patient into a late-stage trial looking at reparixin as a potential treatment for type 1 diabetes.

The compound, a selective chemokine interleukin-8 inhibitor, has shown to improve the efficacy of transplantation of insulin-producing pancreatic islets, which Dompe says is "the new frontier in type 1 diabetes". The Phase III trial will be conducted in 10 centres in Europe and the USA on some 60 patients, which the Milan-headquartered company notes is half the total number of patients undergoing allogeneic pancreatic islet transplantation worldwide.

Lorenzo Piemonti of the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan and principal investigator, says "the idea that a targeted anti-inflammatory treatment could help pancreatic islet transplantation become a standard procedure has been confirmed in earlier clinical trials on this investigational drug”. He added that "our hope and goal is significant improvement of patient’s quality of life and lower immune suppression-related risk".

Type 1 diabetes "is a disease which is on the rise globally with significant impact also on the young population”, said Eugenio Aringhieri, Dompe's chief executive. He added that "together with the orphan drug designation granted by the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency, the beginning of the Phase III trial marks a key milestone".

Type 1 diabetes affects some 20 million people worldwide, accounting for 10% of all diabetic cases. _