Research being carried out at Yale University in the United States into type 1 diabetes could lead to new treatments for autoimmune disorders.
Using a mouse model, the study showed that the mechanism underlying the type 1 diabetes drug teplizumab, which targets the destruction of insulin-producing cells by changing the function of particular T-cells that regulate the immune system, could contribute to the development of treatments for other autoimmune diseases, including cancer, HIV and inflammatory bowel disease.
Newborn immunodeficient mice were injected with human stem cells and shown to develop human immune systems within three months, with teplizumab resulting in specific T-cells travelling from the circulatory system to the small intestine and producing antibodies that allowed them to regulate the immune system.
Although the findings from the phase three clinical trial of teplizumab are already know, this study, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, provides details on the complete mechanism for the first time. It is hoped that understanding more about the mechanism could lead to the development of better-targeted drug therapies for patients with type 1 diabetes, as well for other autoimmune diseases.
Lead author Frank Waldron-Lynch “The study is significant for understanding the nuance of treatment for Type 1 diabetes. By understanding the mechanism of the drug, you gain an insight of how to better use that drug in patients.”

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