Engineering Human Regulatory T Cells to Protect Human Pancreatic Islets from Immune Attack in Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a devastating disease caused by the destruction of the insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells by the patient’s own immune system. The only procedure capable of eliminating T1D patients’ reliance on exogenous insulin is a pancreas or islet transplant, but this requires life-long immunosuppression. Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are a subset of T cells dedicated to suppressing immune responses, ensuring self-tolerance. Chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) are designer molecules comprising an antibody-based recognition domain and an intracellular signaling domain. Infusing Tregs engineered with a CAR recognizing the transplanted islets is thus a promising strategy to avert allo- and autoimmunity. Here, Leonardo Ferreira will talk about the models and approaches he is developing toward achieving precision Treg cell-based therapies for T1D.