Nav: Home

Potential preventative therapy for type 1 diabetes

April 29, 2009

Scientists believe they may have found a preventative therapy for Type 1 diabetes, by making the body's killer immune cells tolerate the insulin-producing cells they would normally attack and destroy, prior to disease onset.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition, where the body attacks its own insulin producing cells. It is very serious, with a sudden and dramatic onset, usually in youth. People with Type 1 diabetes must maintain an insulin-monitoring and insulin-injecting regimen for the rest of their lives.

PhD student Eliana Mariño and Dr Shane Grey, from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, have demonstrated how a particular molecule may be used in future as a preventative therapy. Their findings are published online in the international journal Diabetes.

The body's immune cells, or white blood cells, include B cells and T cells. B cells make antibodies and present 'antigens' to T cells, allowing them to recognise, and kill, invaders.

In previously published studies about Type 1 diabetes, Mariño and Grey showed that groups of B cells migrate to the pancreas and pancreatic lymph nodes, presenting specific insulin antigen to T cells. In other words, B cells go to the disease site and tell T cells to kill the cells that produce insulin.

"Taking that work further, our current study looks at different ways of subduing B cells, and how that affects development of the disease," said Grey.

Working with mice that spontaneously develop Type 1 diabetes, Eliana Mariño found that if she blocked BAFF (a hormone that controls survival of B cells) prior to onset, none of the mice developed diabetes.

"This is a remarkable finding, as other B cell depletion methods tested elsewhere have just delayed or reduced disease incidence," said Eliana.

When B cells were depleted, the regulators of the immune system (a subclass of T cells known as T regulatory cells) rose in numbers.

By removing B cells from the picture for a while, it appears you allow T regulatory cells to function as they should, subduing killer T cells and somehow making them tolerant of the insulin producing cells.

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation supported this research. Garvan's Diabetes Vaccine Development Centre (DVDC), the mandate of which is to develop a vaccine for Type 1 Diabetes, is funding further research with the compound.

The molecule used by Grey and colleagues to inhibit BAFF is known as BCMA, and is already being used in clinical trials for other autoimmune diseases, such as Sjogren's Syndrome and Lupus.
-end-
ABOUT GARVAN

The Garvan Institute of Medical Research was founded in 1963. Initially a research department of St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney, it is now one of Australia's largest medical research institutions with nearly 500 scientists, students and support staff. Garvan's main research programs are: Cancer, Diabetes & Obesity, Immunology and Inflammation, Osteoporosis and Bone Biology, and Neuroscience. The Garvan's mission is to make significant contributions to medical science that will change the directions of science and medicine and have major impacts on human health. The outcome of Garvan's discoveries is the development of better methods of diagnosis, treatment, and ultimately, prevention of disease.

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is the world's largest not-for-profit supporter of diabetes research, investing more than $130 million in the search to find a cure for type 1 diabetes each year. Type 1 diabetes is a disease which strikes people suddenly, makes them dependent on multiple daily injections of insulin to survive and at risk of devastating health complications like blindness, kidney failure, heart disease and amputation. The mission of JDRF is constant: to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research.

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 (or juvenile) diabetes affects 140,000 Australians and incidence is increasing every year. Typically striking young people, it results in the destruction of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, leaving the sufferer on a daily regime of painful injections and finger-prick tests. Unlike type 2 diabetes, Type 1 cannot be prevented and is not associated in any way with obesity or lifestyle. While insulin keeps people alive, it is not a cure and does not prevent the onset of the serious disease complications that dramatically shorten life expectancy. Research programs such as the ITP offer the best hope for curing this debilitating condition and minimize the estimated ongoing health burden to the community.

DVDC

The DVDC is a major joint initiative of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). It was established in Melbourne in 2003 as a translational research organisation focused on the development of a small number of promising immunotherapies to prevent, delay the progress or ameliorate the effects of type 1 diabetes. It has been positioned to bridge the gap that exists between fundamental research and full-scale clinical product development.

In 2007, DVDC transferred its operational headquarters to Garvan, an institute with a strong commitment to leading edge research in both diabetes and autoimmunity and with a focus on identifying opportunities to translate research findings into clinical treatments and/or therapeutic products. DVDC has recently become a public company limited by guarantee with the Garvan Institute of Medical Research as its sole member.

MEDIA ENQUIRIES
Alison Heather
Science Communications Manager
Garvan Institute of Medical Research
0434 071 326

OR

Lyndal Howison
Media and PR Executive
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
0411 110 717

Research Australia

Related Diabetes Articles:

Maternal gestational diabetes linked to diabetes in children
Children and youth of mothers who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at increased risk of diabetes themselves, according to new research published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
Two diabetes medications don't slow progression of type 2 diabetes in youth
In youth with impaired glucose tolerance or recent-onset type 2 diabetes, neither initial treatment with long-acting insulin followed by the drug metformin, nor metformin alone preserved the body's ability to make insulin, according to results published online June 25 in Diabetes Care.
People with diabetes visit the dentist less frequently despite link between diabetes, oral health
Adults with diabetes are less likely to visit the dentist than people with prediabetes or without diabetes, finds a new study led by researchers at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and East Carolina University's Brody School of Medicine.
Diabetes, but not diabetes drug, linked to poor pregnancy outcomes
New research indicates that pregnant women with pre-gestational diabetes who take metformin are at a higher risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes -- such as major birth defects and pregnancy loss -- than the general population, but their increased risk is not due to metformin but diabetes.
New oral diabetes drug shows promise in phase 3 trial for patients with type 1 diabetes
A University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus study finds sotagliflozin helps control glucose and reduces the need for insulin in patients with type 1 diabetes.
Can continuous glucose monitoring improve diabetes control in patients with type 1 diabetes who inject insulin
Two studies in the Jan. 24/31 issue of JAMA find that use of a sensor implanted under the skin that continuously monitors glucose levels resulted in improved levels in patients with type 1 diabetes who inject insulin multiple times a day, compared to conventional treatment.
Complications of type 2 diabetes affect quality of life, care can lead to diabetes burnout
T2D Lifestyle, a national survey by Health Union of more than 400 individuals experiencing type 2 diabetes (T2D), reveals that patients not only struggle with commonly understood complications, but also numerous lesser known ones that people do not associate with diabetes.
A better way to predict diabetes
An international team of researchers has discovered a simple, accurate new way to predict which women with gestational diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes after delivery.
The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology: Older Americans with diabetes living longer without disability, US study shows
Older Americans with diabetes born in the 1940s are living longer and with less disability performing day to day tasks than those born 10 years earlier, according to new research published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal.
Reverse your diabetes -- and you can stay diabetes-free long-term
A new study from Newcastle University, UK, has shown that people who reverse their diabetes and then keep their weight down remain free of diabetes.
More Diabetes News and Diabetes Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

In & Out Of Love
We think of love as a mysterious, unknowable force. Something that happens to us. But what if we could control it? This hour, TED speakers on whether we can decide to fall in — and out of — love. Guests include writer Mandy Len Catron, biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, musician Dessa, One Love CEO Katie Hood, and psychologist Guy Winch.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#543 Give a Nerd a Gift
Yup, you guessed it... it's Science for the People's annual holiday episode that helps you figure out what sciency books and gifts to get that special nerd on your list. Or maybe you're looking to build up your reading list for the holiday break and a geeky Christmas sweater to wear to an upcoming party. Returning are pop-science power-readers John Dupuis and Joanne Manaster to dish on the best science books they read this past year. And Rachelle Saunders and Bethany Brookshire squee in delight over some truly delightful science-themed non-book objects for those whose bookshelves are already full. Since...
Now Playing: Radiolab

An Announcement from Radiolab