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New vaccine approach prevents/reverses diabetes in lab study at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
Date:5/28/2008

Microspheres carrying targeted nucleic acid molecules fabricated in the laboratory have been shown to prevent and even reverse new-onset cases of type 1 diabetes in animal models. The results of these studies were reported by diabetes researchers at the John G. Rangos Sr. Research Center at Childrens Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and Baxter Healthcare Corporation.

In a research study at Childrens Hospital, the scientists injected the microspheres under the skin near the pancreas of mice with autoimmune diabetes. The microspheres were then captured by white blood cells known as dendritic cells which released the nucleic acid molecules within the dendritic cells. The released molecules reprogrammed these cells, and then migrated to the pancreas. There, they turned off the immune system attack on insulin-producing beta cells. Within weeks, the diabetic mice were producing insulin again with reduced blood glucose levels.

Results of the microsphere study are published in the June issue of Diabetes, the journal of the American Diabetes Association.

In type 1 diabetes, T cells from the immune system travel to the pancreas and destroy beta cells, which produce insulin. The scientists led by Massimo Trucco, MD, and Nick Giannoukakis, PhD found that the microspheres reprogram dendritic cells to block the signaling mechanism that sends T cells to destroy beta cells. The microsphere research builds on previous research by Drs. Giannoukakis and Trucco in which they used dendritic cells delivered to the pancreas in another method to turn off the immune systems attack on insulin-producing beta cells, thereby allowing the cells of the pancreas to recover and begin producing insulin again.

Drs. Trucco and Giannoukakis anticipate that the latest research involving microspheres represents a significant improvement over their previous approach to extract (through a process known as leukapheresis) and reprogram the dendritic cells.


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Contact: Marc Lukasiak
marc.lukasiak@chp.edu
412-692-7919
Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
Source:Eurekalert

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