There’s new hope on the horizon for those with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Biopharmaceutical company TetraGenetics is working on an innovative drug therapy that can stop or prevent the body’s immune system from attacking its own pancreas.

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In the pancreas, the cells that produce insulin are called beta cells. In people that have a particular type of gene associated with T1D, the beta cells have a quality (an antigen) that closely resembles the antigens found in the virus.

When you are exposed to the virus, your immune system activates its T cells to start combating the infection by creating antibodies. However, these antibodies can’t distinguish between the beta cells and the virus cells. They look too similar, so the antibodies destroy them all in an attempt to protect against the viral infection.

Unfortunately, by killing off your beta cells, your immune system has also eliminated your body’s ability to produce insulin. You are now diabetic.

They [TetraGenetics] have found a way to block the destruction of the beta cells during an immune response. Their approach involves a drug that creates a different type of antibody, one that inhibits the activity of the immune system’s antibodies.

The company has discovered several drugs that create different antibodies that appear to have similar effects on the immune system’s antibodies. Now they need to determine which has the greatest likelihood of success with the fewest negative side effects. Once they’ve decided on the best drug, then they can seek approval to begin testing on humans.

Unfortunately, research is expensive and every step of this process requires funding. Thankfully, TetraGenetics just received an investment from JDRF T1D Fund that will allow them to continue this line of research.

Read the source article at Diabetes Daily

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