Scientists at the University of Calgary have created a nanotechnology-based vaccine that cured and delayed the onset of Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 in mice. Diabetic mice? How do they inject themselves with insulin when they have no thumbs? That’s the saddest thing ever.
Type 1 Diabetes (AKA Juvenile Diabetes) occurs when the body’s T cells attack and kill the beta cells in the pancreas which produce insulin. An estimated 7.8% of the U.S. population has diabetes with approximately
5 to 10% of these cases being Type 1.
The researchers were looking to specifically stop the autoimmune response that causes type 1 diabetes without damaging the immune cells that provide protection against infections – what is called an “antigen-specific” immunotherapy. They developed a unique vaccine comprised of nanoparticles, which are thousands of times smaller than the size of a cell. These nanoparticles are coated with protein fragments – peptides – specific to type 1 diabetes that are bound to molecules (MHC molecules) that play a critical role in presenting peptides to T cells. [Gizmag]
Fascinating. *puffs on pipe* Quite. *wonders if people are buying that I know what that meant*
Anyway, the vaccine was able to stop the mice’s immune systems from attacking the pancreas without suppressing their immune systems in other ways (if you think diabetic mice are sad, you should see ones with AIDS-like symptoms.) They’re looking to move forward with human trials, and, if this nanoparticle model works, it may also treat other autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, etc.
Nobody tell Dr. Jenny McCarthy about this vaccine. She’ll start claiming its ingredients caused her son’s autism even though he never took those ingredients.