Immune Cell Discovery Could Offer Hope for Type 1 Diabetes

Recent findings from the University of Manchester suggest certain molecules could help cure the inflammatory response associated with type 1 diabetes.

T cells, which are crucial for fighting off infection and protecting the body from foreign invaders, attack the body's own tissues when there is an autoimmune disease present. Regulatory T cells help to stop this process, and researchers have identified new molecules that allow regulatory T cells to function more effectively.

"This knowledge is vitally important when trying to make regulatory T cells for therapy," said Dr. Mark Travis, from the Manchester Collaborative Centre for Inflammation Research. "By knowing the importance of this pathway, we can now work to improve the suppressive nature of regulatory T cells to make them more effective as treatments for disease."

Research may lead to improved treatment options

According to Dr. Travis, regulatory T cells are currently being used in clinical trials to understand further how these critical cells might improve type 1 diabetes therapy. By multiplying the amount of regulatory T cells in the body, the disease-inhibiting response can be boosted.

Dr. John Worthington, co-author of the study, said that understanding how regulatory T cells operate can lead to a potential cure for a variety of inflammatory conditions.

"We're hopeful this research will have a real impact on treatment therapies that use regulatory T cells, either by boosting their function by targeting this pathway or by cherry picking the very best regulatory cells to prevent autoimmunity," Worthington said.

The study is published in the journal Immunity.

Source: University of Manchester

Image courtesy of Photokanok/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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