Catalan researchers find a vaccine for Type 1 Diabetes that works on mice
The vaccine works by re-introducing immune system cells, which have previously been extracted and modified, in order to avoid the destruction of beta cells, which are those producing insulin. The vaccine has been developed by researchers from the Germans Trias Hospital in Badalona, in Greater Barcelona. Furthermore, in February, another group of Catalan scientists announced the cure of Type 1 Diabetes in two dogs, which is the first time this has been successful in large animals. In the last few years, Catalonia and especially Greater Barcelona have become a world centre within the biomedicine sector.
Barcelona (ACN).- Researchers from the Germans Trias Hospital in Badalona, in Greater Barcelona, have found a vaccine that prevents mice from developing Type 1 Diabetes. Further studies need to be developed in the coming years but the research might finally lead to a viable strategy to prevent Type 1 Diabetes in humans as well as immune illnesses, explained the team of researchers. The vaccine works by re-introducing a type of immune system cells called dendritic cells into the body after having previously been extracted and modified in order to avoid the destruction of beta cells, which are those producing insulin. The beta cells of the pancreas produce the hormone that regulates the metabolism of carbohydrate and fat and the absorption of glucose from the blood. Type 1 Diabetes is mostly diagnosed in children or teenagers and is caused by the destruction of beta cells for a still unknown reason. The illness is treated with total or partial pancreas transplants or insulin shots. However, in the last few years researchers have been trying to develop vaccines re-educating the immune system.
The vaccine developed by the Catalan researchers has proved to be effective on mouse metabolism by preventing the animals from developing the illness. This is not the first main discovery regarding Type 1 Diabetes made in Catalonia. In February, another group of Catalan scientists from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona announced the cure of Type 1 Diabetes in two dogs, which is the first time that such a success has been achieved in large animals at an international level. In the last few years, Catalonia and especially Greater Barcelona have become a world centre within the biomedicine sector.
The researchers extracted dendritic cells from mice and they modified them ‘in vitro’ to make them catch pancreatic cells in the phase of scheduled cellular death. This way, dentritic cells can generate signals that, in a pre-diabetic phase, can induce the immune system to tolerate its own beta cells, stopping their destruction and therefore preventing Type 1 Diabetes from developing.
The work opens the door to a future vaccine fighting Type 1 Diabetes in humans and other illness caused by problems with the immune system. A vaccine working on humans could re-educate the immune system avoiding its self-destruction and restoring tolerance to its own body tissues.