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Immune Regulation and Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) is caused by immune cells that destroy insulin-secreting cells resulting in uncontrolled high glucose (sugar) levels in the blood. San Diego BioMed’s, Dr. Joanna Davies aims to find new methods to treat T1D by focusing on a period of partial remission usually experienced by patients shortly after diagnosis. During remission patients have improved glucose control and less risk of complications. The Davies team believe that if they can identify the mechanisms that cause and lengthen this period of remission, they can identify new targets for therapies.

The Davies group has found evidence that partial remission happens because of immune regulation. They are specifically looking at the role of 127-hi cells, a new piece of the immune system that they discovered several years ago. They have found that people who have the largest number of these cells when they are newly diagnosed with T1D have the longest remission period. Recently, the Davies group also found that people with T1D who have the most 127-hi cells have better insulin-secreting cell survival and respond better to anti-inflammatory immunotherapy. Studies like these can help scientists to develop treatments that could potentially reverse T1D.

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