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DRI's Commitment to a Cure - Immunology   

by Diabetes Research Institute on Thursday, March 3, 2011 at 9:45am on T1 Diabetes Cure - Global Headquarters and Diabetes Research Institute Facebook pages.

Hi Julie and friends.
Thanks again for your interest, energy and ongoing commitment to this forum and our shared goal. Following our initial post, Julie commented on the progress being made in approaches to restore natural insulin production with cell replacement strategies, and how these approaches will only be effective if the primary immune process that caused diabetes in the first place is addressed. And of course, she is right.

In the area of immunology, the DRI and collaborating centers are working on several fronts to combat both cell rejection and autoimmunity. The first deals with the body's natural defense against foreign invaders such as a virus, a transplanted organ or cells that come from a source other than ourselves.  Autoimmunity is the process that causes the body to mistakenly see our own cells or other tissues as "foreign" and in our case, destroys the insulin-producing cells resulting in T1 diabetes.

In the coming weeks we will introduce you to members of our team and describe the projects underway. Some of these focus on approaches to better protect the insulin-producing cells through tissue engineering and the use of our own cells to reset our immune system, as well as to disguise the islets from attack.

In a study recently published in the journal, Diabetes, DRI researchers show that T1 can recur in patients following combined kidney-pancreas transplants, despite the continuous use of powerful anti-rejection drugs that prevents organ rejection. Our team identified autoimmune cells that target insulin-producing beta cells. These important findings prove there are distinct differences in how cells can be lost and will help scientists develop new methods to address this immune system mechanism.

One of the approaches being developed and tested is the use of a type of immune cell responsible for maintaining a balance or "regulation" of our immune system. They're called regulatory T cells which continuously monitor our body - and keep the bad guys out and the good guys in. Check out this video to learn more about T-Regulatory Cells from one of our researchers working in this area.

You'll hear more from us about the use of these cells in clinical trials in the coming months.
Please feel free to visit our site,, to learn more or contact us for more information. Thanks again.



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