Research towards a vaccine to cure type 1 diabetes has received an important boost in funding.
Selecta Biosciences Inc. has secured $20 million (US) to fund their research collaboration which has support from type 1 diabetes charity, the JDRF, and Sanofi SA.
The funding means that Selecta have now raised more than $78 million for the research project which aims to reprogram the body’s immune system. The project aims to produce a true biological cure and has therefore a highly ambitious mission. On the positive side, the project also boasts a huge amount of expertise from the companies and organisations involved.
Selecta has been developing antigen-specific immunotherapies based around tolerogenic nanoparticles called Synthetic Vaccine Particles (SVP). Supporting the research is Genzymen, a biotech company based in Cambridge and part of the large pharmaceutical company Sanofi SA.
The funding will allow the research collaboration to initiate trials in mice to test the ability of the tolerogenic nanoparticles in reprogramming the immune system to not attack insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas. If the immune system can be successfully modified in this way, it would represent a biological cure for type 1 diabetes.
It should be noted that the research is at a very early stage. To date, no attempts to produce a vaccine against type 1 diabetes have been successful in humans but each step of research represents a new understanding of the condition and researchers remain hopeful that one day research will crack the code and deliver the cure that so many people with type 1 diabetes have been waiting for.

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