Print 17 comment(s) - last by Mona1980.. on Jul 27 at 12:29 AM

It leaves the rest of the immune system alone, though

Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong disease, but researchers at Stanford University are hoping to eliminate the effects of the disease -- and eventually cure it -- with a new vaccine.

Researchers from the Stanford School of Medicine -- led by Lawrence Steinman, MD, professor of pediatrics and of neurology and neurological sciences at Stanford -- have created a DNA vaccine that fights type 1 diabetes by targeting only a certain population of cells in the immune system without destroying the whole thing.

The vaccine consists of an altered piece of DNA, which holds the proinsulin gene. Beta cells, which are the only cells that make insulin in the body, start out as proinsulin precursor proteins. The beta cells, like all cells, display small pieces of the proteins they make on their surfaces called peptides, and the proinsulin peptides on the surface of beta cells cause misdirected CD8 cells (which are immune cells that patrol the cell surfaces for foreign peptides) to attack the beta cells. 

The new DNA vaccine seeks out CD8 cells only targeting proinsulin; not all CD8 cells. If the vaccine had shut down the normal behavior of all CD8 cells, it would interfere with the patient's immune system and stop their bodies from being able to fight off infections and serious issues like cancer. Hence, shutting the whole system down isn't a better option.

That's why the vaccine only targets proinsulin-attacking CD8 cells and stops them from destroying beta cells while leaving everything else alone. 

To test the vaccine, the research team recruited 80 type 1 diabetic patients that required insulin therapy. They divided the patients into five different groups, where four received different doses of the vaccine and one received a placebo. 

Over the course of 12 weeks, the researchers measured levels of C-peptide in the patients, which is a piece of proinsulin that is cut off when insulin is pulled out of the proinsulin molecule. C-peptide is thought to fight off diabetic complications, such as eye and kidney damage. 

The team checked the C-peptide levels before they began, then at five and 15 weeks, and then six, nine, 12, 18 and 24 months after starting on the vaccination. During these checks, blood was drawn 30, 60, 90 and 120 minutes after patients drank a modified milkshake.

According to results, levels of proinsulin-targeting CD8 cells were significantly depleted in patients who received the vaccine, compared with those getting placebo. However, other CD8 cells remained intact and left alone. Patients on the vaccine either had the same C-peptide levels or even increased levels, which would help them fight off diabetic complications later in life. 

Source: Stanford Medicine

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I am Legend
By Lord 666 on 7/1/2013 5:28:38 PM , Rating: -1
Sounds great on paper until diabetics start to crave blood.

RE: I am Legend
By dozer13 on 7/1/2013 7:37:22 PM , Rating: 1
Was thinkin the same thing as i read it, where have I heard this plot before? lol kinda scary when u really think about how much genetic modification we are doing these days in people,plants and animals, but don't worry "we tested it in the lab its safe!" look up wheat stem rust disease and its possible genetic cure, now imagine if evolution/god/mother nature/whateverucallit decides to mod our corn scares me, lets not even start talkin bout them playin with h1n1 an such.

RE: I am Legend
By japlha on 7/2/2013 12:35:01 PM , Rating: 2
I think your tinfoil hat is on too tight.
Think of all the "modifications" we've made that have increased our well-being.

Though it's possible some genetic modification or mutation could result in a virus or disease that wipes out the human species, our knowledge of genetics has saved lives and continues to do so against viruses and diseases.

Either we remain ignorant, live in caves and hope "nature" doesn't kill us (as it already has done so to 99.999% of all species that have ever existed). Or we try to figure this stuff out so we and future generations can benefit from it.

RE: I am Legend
By topkill on 7/1/2013 10:55:11 PM , Rating: 3
You read about something that could help alleviate the suffering of millions...and THAT is what you get from the article?

Have you ever heard the term "douche"? Look it up. You'll probably find your picture there.

RE: I am Legend
By HostileEffect on 7/2/2013 5:29:35 AM , Rating: 2
He probably means to say that its preferable to find a naturally occurring remedy or lifestyle change rather than monkeying with human genetics before we have a backup option to the human body. Ex full synthetic and be done with disease, or the ability to grow something from scratch. Ok, I'm going to bed now before I get charged with destruction of government property. (sun burn). Yes, its happened.

RE: I am Legend
By asgallant on 7/2/2013 12:09:59 PM , Rating: 2
Type I diabetes is an auto-immune disorder that is usually (though not always) genetic in origen. There is no "lifestyle change" or "naturally occurring" remedy to cure it. You have to get rid of or alter the cells in the immune system that attack insulin-producing cells, which requires exotic methods to accomplish.

Maybe there are unintended consequences of this treatment, but who's to say that a "natural" treatment wouldn't have any? The important thing here is that this is a major step towards curing a disease that afflicts millions of people.

RE: I am Legend
By ClownPuncher on 7/2/2013 11:45:17 AM , Rating: 2
I thought it was funny. Some of you guys are dead inside.

RE: I am Legend
By topkill on 7/2/2013 12:10:05 PM , Rating: 2
I'm usually a pretty relaxed guy about what's funny and what's not. Children suffering isn't usually high on my list of funny and/or tolerance issues.

RE: I am Legend
By Lord 666 on 7/2/2013 12:33:39 PM , Rating: 2
Thank you... that's exactly how it meant it to be. Glad to see the more mature/older people on this site appreciate it.

RE: I am Legend
By ClownPuncher on 7/2/2013 12:54:09 PM , Rating: 2
You calling me old? NOT FUNNY BRO

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