Researchers have shown that they can stop the progression of type 1 diabetes by stopping the immune destruction of the pancreatic beta cells. The immune system mistakenly attacks itself when it is attacked by foreign pathogens. In the case of type 1 diabetes, the marked targets are the cells in the pancreas.
In order for cells to take up glucose and use it as energy, they need a vital hormone. To regulate this process, people with diabetes need to monitor their blood sugar levels constantly and inject the appropriate dose ofinsulin several times per day. A research team at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has found a way to suppress the attack on the cells.
Their study was based on a disease model in mice. After the start of diabetes, animals treated with bio engineered cells showed improved health outcomes. Improved survival can be achieved by preserving and improving blood sugar control.
Andrew Wang and his team took inspiration from how cancer cells escape immune destruction to come up with a tactic to protect their cells. Wang said that a key strategy for cancer to evade the immune system is to present lots of immune checkpoint molecule. When T cells engage their ligand, they initiate a regulatory response.
The checkpoint pathways act as a brake on the pro- inflammatory response, which can lead to type 1 diabetes. When the immune cell recognizes its target, it can either initiate an inflammatory response or undergo programmed death. Wang said that by protecting the cells in the pancreas, they were able to survive.
There is a chance to save the beta cells in the early stages of type 1 diabetes. He believes that these immune checkpoint-endowed beta cells could be useful for patients with more advanced diabetes. In patients who no longer have beta cells, our strategy can improve their transplantation success.
It is possible to suppress the immune response and enable successful transplantation. The team plans to investigate if immunotherapy using cells bioengineered with immune checkpoint proteins onto targeted cells could be effective in the treatment of other autoimmune diseases. Kin Man Au and his team have developed a vaccine that reverses early-onset type 1 diabetes.
A document titled "10.1002/adma. 202101253".