New research in Chicago looks promising. They’re developing an “inverse vaccine” that can train the immune system to not attack certain flags. This can prevent or possibly even reverse the progression of autoimmune diseases. The article mentions T1D specifically, but doesn’t go into detail.
As far as I know, beta islet cells won’t regenerate if the immune system stops attacking them, but it could save people who are pre-diabetic. However, if you can successfully teach the immune system to not target the cells, you might be able to greatly increase the chances of a transplant working.
Thanks for sharing this! We can only hope…!
I read the same or similar article. While encouraging for “new” T1’s or those that still have some beta cell activity, the question I had is “what does it do for those with dead beta cells? It presumably doesn’t “re-grow” beta cells, though it might dissuade attacks on transplanted cells or stem cell therapy. Seems a lot more explanation is in order… That said, at least there’s some promise for future T1s!
After reading the Chicago/Pritzker article, I wonder if this supports what Faustman has been working on for 20+ years at U-Mass using BCG (Bacillus Calmette Guerin, a 100-year-old tuberculosis vaccine) to reprogram the immune system to leave the islet β-cells alone.
The 2021 Healthline article didn’t discuss the β-cell regrowth that I recall from her early announcements, but the Wikipædia article mentions it.
Short recap: Dr. Faustman set out to retrain the immune system (in mice) before transplanting β-cell (from undifferentiated mice spleen cells). “Retraining” the immune system (CD8 cells) went exactly as planned; β-cell transplantation wasn’t needed, however. The thought at the time was that the body created new β-cells the same way skin cells regrow-- this would certainly explain those lovely days when nothing I do seems to keep me from hypogycæmia!
The Healthline article seems to suggest other causes of “remission” (in human RCTs,) but I’m not sure how that can be possible in T1D, insulin dependant subjects. I’m hoping for β-cell regrowth–maybe the same technique can be used for my hair follicles that have gone missing this past decade!
Sceptics aren’t impressed by Faustman’s small test groups, but I like her long-term studies, how she re-visits her data, resurrected the first (22-week) study when she found evidence suggesting longer-term benefits, and ESPECIALLY how she’s using a generic, inexpensive, well- known, well-tested drug with a known medical profile and not much in the way of contraindications.