Developing an ‘Inverse Vaccine’ for Type 1 Diabetes
What do you get when you mix certain immune cells with vitamin D and a disease-provoking molecule? An innovative new vaccine for type 1 diabetes.
“We are trying to educate the immune system to teach it what not to do,” Bart O. Roep, Ph.D., Chan Soon-Shiong Shapiro Distinguished Chair in Diabetes at City of Hope and professor/chair of the Department of Diabetes Immunology, told BioSpace. “It is a radical approach that does not involve immunosuppression – it engages the immune system and causes desensitization, like allergy treatments.”
This approach is considered an ‘inverse vaccine’ because it reverses certain immune responses, rather than activating the immune system, like most vaccines do.
“This approach was a visionary thought – I was very uncomfortable with how other autoimmune conditions are treated by suppressing the immune system,” said Roep, who is also director of City of Hope’s Wanek Family Project for Type 1 Diabetes. “We wanted to design a therapy to directly addressed the cause of type 1 diabetes.”
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