Applying Early Advances in T-Regulatory Cell Research to Type 1 Diabetes Model
Building on preliminary research that showed T-Regulatory cells can be harnessed to reverse general autoimmunity, DRI scientists will soon be testing the effectiveness of T-Reg therapy as a treatment for type 1 diabetes.
As the name implies, T-Regulatory cells regulate the function of the immune system and prevent the destruction of one's own tissues. In the case of type 1 diabetes, the patient's own immune system sees insulin-producing cells as "foreign" and mistakenly destoys them. By treating the recipient with T-Regulatory cells, we hope to restore the balance of immune system cells resulting in the protecting of insulin-producing cells.
Preliminary research conducted at the DRI and funded by the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation showed that by restoring the balance of T-Regs, scientists could reverse general autoimmunity and induce tolerance of transplanted tissues in some animal models. Based on those findings, our scientists were awarded a grant from the American Diabetes Association to take the next steps in this promising area of study.
The funding will allow our researchers to identify the specific requirements needed to allow T-Regs to control autoimmunity in non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice. NOD mice are an ideal experimental model; they develop type 1 diabetes spontaneously and share many of the characteristics of type 1 diabetes in humans.