Three researchers have won a top medical prize for “fundamental discoveries” which could help find future treatments for type 1 diabetes.
Immunologists Alexander Rudensky, Shimon Sakaguchi and Fred Ramsdell scooped the prestigious 2017 Crafoord Prize, which is awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
The prize money of 6 million krona (£548,594) will be given to the trio for their “discoveries relating to regulatory T cells, which counteract harmful immune reactions in arthritis and other autoimmune diseases”.
A statement on the Academy’s website said: “There are hopes that their discoveries will lead the way to new, highly effective treatment methods for autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis (MS) and type 1 diabetes.”
The work, conducted by Rudensky, a Moscow University professor, Sakaguchi of Osaka University in Japa, and Ramsdell of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy in San Francisco, related to the regulatory T cells, known as Tregs.
Regulatory T cells act as the immune system’s security guards helping to slow down or stop other immune cells from attacking the body’s own tissue.
The researchers’ findings have prompted further clinical trials all over the world, where teams are investigating more about T cells and how they can be used to prevent other autoimmune diseases.
The Crafoord Prize is an annual award and is regarded as the highest honour in the medical profession. It was founded in 1982 when Soviet mathematician Vladimir Arnold and American Louis Nirenberg were recognised for researching into the theory of nonlinear differential equations.
An award ceremony will take place in Stockholm on May 18.

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