In experiments using blood cells from human patients with diabetes and other autoimmune disorders, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers have confirmed the mechanism behind a potential new therapy for type 1 diabetes. A team led by Denise Faustman, MD, PhD, director of the MGH Immunobiology Laboratory, showed that blocking a metabolic pathway regulating the immune system specifically eliminated immune cells that react against a patient’s own tissues.
Faustman and her colleagues previously discovered a technique that reversed type 1 disease in a mouse model. The current study, which will appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and has been released online, is the first demonstration of this strategy in human cells and supports the viability of a clinical trial that is currently underway.
“Our studies in mice showed that we could selectively kill the defective autoimmune cells that were destroying insulin-producing islets,” says Faustman. “These results show that the same selective destruction can occur in humans cells and connect what we saw in our animal studies with the protocol we are pursuing in our Phase 1 clinical trial.”
Release date: August 25, 2008
Source: Massachusetts General Hospital
Filed Under: Drug Discovery