A new study at the University of Calgary in Canada has produced a nanoparticle vaccine for type 1 diabetes. The vaccine has been designed to prevent the autoimmune response responsible for causing type 1 diabetes in children without causing any harm to immune cells that protect the body against both infection and disease. It is hoped that the vaccine will also contribute to the treatment of other autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and lupus.
The research, published in the journal Immunity, provides insights into how to stop the immune attack that causes type 1 diabetes. It found that the new nanoparticle vaccine had the ability to cure mice that were already infected with type 1 diabetes, and also slow the onset of diabetes in mice at risk. The mice showed no problems with their general immune system, and did not acquire other diseases or infections faster than mice not participating in the study.
If these results were replicated in humans with diabetes, it could increase the quality of life for the millions who are suffering from the disease. The vaccine has been licensed, so it is hoped that it will eventually become commercially available.
Pete Santamaria, who led the study, said “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.”
“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.”

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