Treat Type 1 Diabetes by Retraining the Immune System
It may be possible to ‘retrain’ the immune system to slow the progression of type 1 diabetes, according to results of a clinical trial published today in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
Researchers leading the MonoPepT1De trial at King’s College London and Cardiff University observed noticeable changes in the behaviour of the immune systems of type 1 diabetes patients that had been injected with peptides, small fragments of the protein molecules found in the beta cells of the pancreas.
Type 1 diabetes develops when a patient’s immune system mistakenly attacks the insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas. Without treatment the number of beta cells will slowly decrease and the body will no longer be able to maintain normal blood sugar (blood glucose) levels.
The trial was led by Professor Mark Peakman, whose work is supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London, and who says: “When someone is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes they still typically have between 15% and 20% of their beta cells. We wanted to see if we could protect these remaining cells by retraining the immune system to stop attacking them.”
“We still have a long way to go, but these early results suggest we are heading in the right direction. The peptide technology used in our trial is not only appears to be safe for patients at this stage, but it also has a noticeable effect on the immune system.”
There is currently no cure for type 1 diabetes, which can affect major organs in the body, including the heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes and kidneys. The UK has one of the highest rates of type 1 diabetes in the world with 400,000 people currently living with the condition.
“It was encouraging to see that people who receive the treatment needed less insulin to control their blood glucose levels, suggesting that their pancreas was working better” commented, Prof Colin Dayan from Cardiff University, the clinical Chief Investigator for the study.
The study was also supported by Diabetes UK and JDRF, the Type 1 diabetes charity.
Dr Elizabeth Robertson, Director of Research at Diabetes UK, the charity who supported the lead author of the study, said: “Diabetes UK is committed to increasing our understanding of the immune attack in type 1 diabetes and finding ways to stop it. These new findings are an exciting step towards immunotherapies being used to prevent this serious condition from developing in those at high risk, or stop it from progressing in those already diagnosed.”
Karen Addington is UK Chief Executive of the type 1 diabetes charity JDRF which funded the research, said: "Exciting immunotherapy research like this increases the likelihood that one day insulin-producing cells can be protected and preserved. That would mean people at risk of Type 1 diabetes might one day need to take less insulin, and perhaps see a future where no one would ever face daily injections to stay alive."
This article has been republished from materials provided by Kings College London. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.
Computation and Chemistry Combine to Create World-First Auxetic ProteinNews
A team of chemists at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) has now designed a two-dimensional protein crystal that toggles between states of varying porosity and density. This is a first in biomolecular design that combined experimental studies with computation done on supercomputers. The research, published in April 2018 in Nature Chemistry, could help create new materials for renewable energy, medicine, water purification, and more.
Fructose Formula Poses Risk to Babies With Metabolic DisorderNews
Babies with inherited intolerance of fructose face a risk of acute liver failure if they are fed certain widely available formulas containing fructose, pediatricians and geneticists are warning. Baby formula manufacturers should remove fructose or sucrose, or explicitly label their products to allow parents to avoid those sweeteners if necessary, the doctors say.
Comments | 0 ADD COMMENT
Epigenetics in the nervous system: development and disease
Oct 01 - Oct 03, 2018