Until now, scientists weren't sure why the immune system attacks the beta cells, but the result is that the body stops producing insulin. When that happens, glucose builds up in the blood, but the body's cells starve to death.
"We are very excited to begin the clinical trials and see if this process will work in patients with type 1 diabetes," said Dr. Trucco. "A type 1 diabetes diagnosis can be devastating for children and their families. We hope this trial will have results that are life-altering for patients who suffer from this disease."
In addition, Dr. Trucco and his team want to combine the dendritic cells with small portions (i.e. peptides) of insulin. Dr. Trucco believes that adding small doses of insulin to the dendritic cells will help guide the dendritic cells directly to the T cells. Adding the insulin ensures the dendritic cells are used specifically to block the T cell destruction of the beta cells, and not otherwise interrupt a person's immunity. In other words, the dendritic cells are led directly to the target, the T cells that are causing the malfunction of the pancreas, and not to another part of the body.
Type 1 diabetes also is known as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) or juvenile-onset diabetes. While type 2 diabetes typically strikes adults, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that more than 1 million children and teenagers (age 19 and younger) have type
Source:Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh