Participant Spotlight

Tracy Olsten shares why her daughter Mikayla participated in the landmark Teplizumab prevention trial

With landmark results recently announced, the Teplizumab Prevention Study is making headlines across the country. Here, Tracy Olsten shares why her daughter Mikayla decided to join the study.

When Mikayla’s 9-year-old sister went into DKA and spent several days in ICU, mom Tracy Olsten says it totally caught them off guard. To their knowledge, this was the first instance of T1D in their family. 

“There was so much stress and grief,” Tracy remembers. “We spent 6 days in the ICU—she was in respiratory and kidney failure. We saw her life slipping away right before us.”

The Olstens lived in Colorado then and their daughter with T1D was being treated at the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes at the University of Colorado in Aurora.

Tracy recalls, “The staff at Barbara Davis Center told us about TrialNet and the opportunity to have our family screened. We jumped on it right away! Seeing everything our child went through, we wanted to catch it at the earliest possible stage in our other kids.”

The whole family was screened at Barbara Davis three weeks before their move to Florida. They had just moved into their new home when they got the call with Mikayla’s results. Mikayla, 15 at the time, had 4 out of 5 markers for T1D. The rest of the family tested negative.

“Barbara Davis put us in touch with the University of Florida (UF) in Gainesville,” explains Tracy. “And, UF invited us to come in to hear about the Teplizumab Prevention Study. We told Mikayla, you know you have the markers, you know everything your sister went through, and you have a high probability. She made the decision herself to participate.”

During the treatment phase of the study, Mikayla spent 14 days at UF. “That team is phenomenal,” says Tracy. “They were extremely informative throughout the entire process. From our experience at Barbara Davis to UF, everybody was super helpful and accommodating, addressing all our fears. They’ve all become like family to us. We have no regrets.”

Tracy says having the knowledge is what’s so helpful. “I would not want anyone to go through what our 9-year-old went through with DKA. We had the power to prevent this from ever happening again by simply taking one blood test and knowing our risk factors.”

“It was extremely comforting to my husband and me to know that we were back in control again by having the information we needed regarding our family’s risk. With T1D, you can’t control a lot of things, but with this information, you can control some really important things.”

Now 17, Mikayla says, “My sister could have had this same opportunity but didn’t because we didn’t have the knowledge. I wanted to do this for her. This is going to help me and other people.”

In response to the study findings, Tracy says, “We were pleased to know that Mikayla was one of the participants that received the study medication. Her counts have remained on track, and so far, it appears that this treatment has worked.”

You can help advance type 1 diabetes research

TrialNet is continually planning and launching new studies. And, we always encourage family members of people with T1D to get screened through the Pathway to Prevention study.

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