Health & Wellbeing

Nanoparticle vaccine cures type 1 diabetes in mice

Nanoparticle vaccine cures type 1 diabetes in mice
A new nanotechnology-based vaccine offers the hope of curing type 1 diabetes in humans
A new nanotechnology-based vaccine offers the hope of curing type 1 diabetes in humans
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A new nanotechnology-based vaccine offers the hope of curing type 1 diabetes in humans
A new nanotechnology-based vaccine offers the hope of curing type 1 diabetes in humans

According to the American Diabetes Association around one in every 400 to 600 children and adolescents has type 1 diabetes – also known as IDDM, or juvenile diabetes. Currently there is no known way to prevent the disease which requires sufferers to administer insulin usually via injection or a pump. Using a nanotechnology-based "vaccine," researchers were able to successfully cure mice with type 1 diabetes and slow the onset of the disease.

Type 1 diabetes is caused when certain white blood cells (called T cells) mistakenly attack and destroy the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. The subsequent lack of insulin leads to increased blood and urine glucose and is fatal unless treated with insulin.

"Essentially there is an internal tug-of-war between aggressive T-cells that want to cause the disease and weaker T cells that want to stop it from occurring," said Dr. Santamaria from the Julia McFarlane Diabetes Researchers Center at the University of Calgary, Alberta, who is a Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Scholar.

The researchers were looking to specifically stop the autoimmune response that causes type 1 diabetes without damaging the immune cells that provide protection against infections – what is called an "antigen-specific" immunotherapy. They developed a unique vaccine comprised of nanoparticles, which are thousands of times smaller than the size of a cell. These nanoparticles are coated with protein fragments – peptides – specific to type 1 diabetes that are bound to molecules (MHC molecules) that play a critical role in presenting peptides to T cells.

The nanoparticle vaccine worked by expanding the number of peptide-specific regulatory T cells that suppressed the aggressive immune attack that destroys beta cells. The expanded peptide-specific regulatory cells shut down the autoimmune attack by preventing aggressive autoimmune cells from being stimulated by either the peptide contained in the vaccine or by any other type 1 diabetes autoantigen presented simultaneously on the same antigen presenting cell.

The research also provided an important insight into the ability to translate these findings in mice into therapeutics for people with diabetes: nanoparticles that contained human diabetes-related molecules were able to restore normal blood sugar levels in a humanized mouse model of diabetes.

According to Teodora Staeva, Ph.D., JDRF Program Director of Immune Therapies, a key finding from the Alberta study is that only the immune cells specifically focused on aggressively destroying beta cells (or, alternatively, regulating these cells) responded to the antigen-specific nanoparticle vaccine. That means the treatment did not compromise the rest of the immune system – a key consideration for the treatment to be safe and effective in an otherwise healthy person with type 1 diabetes.

"The potential that nanoparticle vaccine therapy holds in reversing the immune attack without generally suppressing the immune system is significant," said Dr. Staeva. "Dr. Santamaria's research has provided both insight into pathways for developing new immunotherapies and proof-of-concept of a specific therapy that exploits these pathways for preventing and reversing type 1 diabetes."

Dr. Santamaria noted that the study had implications for other autoimmune diseases beyond type 1 diabetes. "If the paradigm on which this nanovaccine is based holds true in other chronic autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and others, nanovaccines might find general applicability in autoimmunity," he said.

The nanoparticle vaccine technology used in the study has been licensed by Parvus Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company that is focused on the development and commercialization of the technology for the potential treatment of type 1 diabetes.

The study, conducted at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, appears in the online edition of the scientific journal Immunity.

(Image: aldenchadwick via Flickr)

Like all possibilities of a cure for type one diabetes, this also seems too good to be true. I\'ll wait and see how long it takes to get into human trials. I can only hope it\'s within mine and my son\'s lifetime.
I would participate in any human trials coming up. I am a type 1 diabetic and currently take 5 injections of insulin everyday. I have had diabetes for 48 years and no complications yet.
David Calhoun
Incredible !!!!!! CONGRATS !!!!!!!!!!! Can this cure Type 2 diabetes also ???? I am willing to participate in any human trails that you might be coming up with. Please keep me posted. Sandeep G Bulgannawar, Bangalore, INDIA. Tele: Mobile: 0091 9886053425 . Tele: 0091 08 25251277 , 0091 08 41152137
Facebook User
Great!!! Do not forget that many people have diabetes type 1 and they struggle every day. To have a product on market will take at least 6 years!!! Do you know how many people will develop diabetes during this time. Do you know that these people are ready to give everything to get healthy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is good that we have insulin and these people will not dye but will they be healthy??? We treat some cancers, but not diabetes. I am very happy about mouses cured from diabetes type 1! What about people????????????????? When this will be fact it will be the greatest news I\'ve ever heard!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Aj Hamilton
Im fed up of hearing storys of there may be a cure on the horizon of diabeties, I heard they there are cures by pigs cells, Mice Being cured of the illness, Artifical pancreases being availabile which will pump insulin and mimic original insulin,
Yet this seems to be never availabile to the general public or for trails its always the same story 5 years ot nothing ever heard of again,Is it because the multi million pound company that keep people alive with products wont let go of the markets and just want to object to a cure,
I can see now cancers are being cured(some i mean not all) However no change for diabeties, Just the same research but not else happening
Jeff Korn
Ive had this killer since 1980 we need a cire now !!!!!!!!! why isnt this being tried here in the us? my aic was jut 7.9 its been that way for a while , and im just getting tired of it , its gotten in the way of my life ......
Mac McDougal
Hi All, Lifelong Type 1 diabetic here. I can chime in with all of the "show me the money" comments. I was diagnosed in 1960, at which time the word around the research water coolers was "there will be a cure in five to 10 years." That gradually morphed into "a cure will come in five years." A couple of years ago, my endocrinologist said he had a meeting with his entire staff whose purpose was to figure out what they would do next. He thought a cure was imminent. Well, they're still in business. Personally, I'm starting to lose hope. I wish the journalists in this arena would take a look at the prognostications of the past, see how very wrong they were, and spare us the usual uninformed happy talk about a cure until the cure is proven and available. I love to hear about developments. I literally hate to about the phantom cure that never arrives.
...and 10 years later, this still hasn’t come to fruition, while T1D’s everywhere are begging you to just find a cure.
Great job.