Atorvastatin (Lipitor) Study

Publication:The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute

Understanding type 1 diabetes and atorvastatin (Lipitor) 

Type 1 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes in children. It develops when the body fails to produce insulin—the hormone that allows glucose to enter the cells of the body to provide fuel. This is the result of an autoimmune process in which the body’s immune system mistakenly destroys the insulin producing beta cells of the pancreas. This process takes place during the year following a diabetes diagnosis, and it eventually leads to the complete absence of insulin production. As a result, children with type 1 diabetes must take daily insulin injections and monitor their blood sugar levels.

At the time of diagnosis, most patients still have significant residual beta cell function. Previous research has shown that decreasing the immune system’s attack on pancreatic beta cells may help to preserve or even increase insulin production.

Atorvastatin (Lipitor) is a drug used to lower blood cholesterol levels. Preliminary studies have shown that it is also active in treating other autoimmune diseases.

The purpose of this research study is to find out if the use of atorvastatin (Lipitor) in combination with insulin therapy may delay and potentially reverse the destruction of beta cells in children who have recently developed type 1 diabetes. While this is not a substitute for insulin therapy, we hope to learn more about how to prevent diabetes complications and improve the quality of life for these children. 

Who are we?

The Diabetes Center for Children (DCC) at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is dedicated to excellence in patient care, education, and research. More than 2,000 children with diabetes are regular patients of the DCC, making us one of the largest centers in the country dedicated to the treatment and study of diabetes in children.

What is the Atorvastatin (Lipitor) Study?

The Atorvastatin (Lipitor) Study is designed to examine whether atorvastatin (Lipitor) can help the body preserve insulin production in patients newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

This research study may lead to treatment that can delay and potentially reverse the destruction of beta cells in patients with type 1 diabetes in the future.