March 5, 2024

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Harvard Scientists Develop a Revolutionary New Treatment for Diabetes

Harvard Scientists Develop a Revolutionary New Treatment for Diabetes


Harvard Scientists Develop a Revolutionary New Treatment for Diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is estimated to affect approximately 1.8 million Americans.

Although type 1 diabetes often develops in childhood or adolescence, it can also develop in adulthood. Despite positive research, there is no cure for type 1 diabetes.

Treatment is understood to include taking pancreatic islets, monitoring diet, managing blood sugar levels, and exercising regularly. Scientists also recently discovered a promising new treatment.


In a new study published May 13 in Science Advances, a team of researchers from the University of Missouri, Georgia Institute of Technology and Harvard University has demonstrated the efficacy of a novel type 1 diabetes treatment in a large animal model. successfully applied.

Their approach involves transferring insulin-producing pancreatic cells, so-called islets, from a donor to a recipient without the need for long-term immunosuppressive drugs.


According to Haval Shirwan, professor of child health and molecular microbiology and immunology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and one of the study’s lead authors, people with type 1 diabetes may have their immune systems malfunctioning and making them target themselves.


“The immune system is a tightly controlled defense mechanism that ensures an individual’s well-being in an infection-ridden environment,” Shirwan said. “Type 1 diabetes occurs when the immune system mistakenly identifies insulin-producing cells in the pancreas as an infection and destroys them.

It happens. Usually, once the perceived danger or threat is eliminated, the command and control mechanism of the immune system kicks in to eliminate any rogue cells.

However, if this mechanism fails, diseases such as type 1 diabetes can manifest.”


Diabetes impairs the body’s ability to produce or use insulin, a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar metabolism.

People with type 1 diabetes cannot control their blood sugar levels because their bodies cannot produce insulin.

This lack of control can lead to life-threatening problems, including heart disease, kidney damage, and vision loss.


Shirwan and Esma Yolcu, a professor of child health and molecular microbiology and immunology at the MU School of Medicine, have been targeting a mechanism of apoptosis for the past 20 years.

The mechanism works by attaching a molecule called FasL to the surface of the islets, preventing “rogue” immune cells from causing diabetes or rejection of transplanted islets.


“A type of apoptosis occurs when a molecule called FasL interacts with another molecule called Fas on rogue immune cells and causes them to die,” said Yolcu, one of the first authors of the paper. Our team has pioneered a technique to produce a novel FasL and present it on transplanted islet cells or microgels to prevent rejection by rogue cells. After transplantation of insulin-producing islet cells, rogue cells Cells mobilized to the graft for destruction, but were eliminated by Fas involving FasL on its surface.”


Harvard Scientists Develop a Revolutionary New Treatment for Diabetes


One advantage of this new approach is the possibility of forgoing a lifetime of immunosuppressive drugs that, when introduced into the body, counteract the immune system’s ability to seek and destroy foreign bodies, or in this case, cell transplants.


Shirwan said: “The main problem with immunosuppressive drugs is that they are not specific, so they can have a lot of bad effects, such as a high chance of developing cancer. So with our technology, we found a way that we can modulate or Train the immune system to accept, not reject, these transplanted cells.”


Their method is understood to utilize technology contained in U.S. patents filed by the University of Louisville and Georgia Tech and has since been licensed by a commercial company that plans to seek FDA approval for human testing.

To develop a commercial product, researchers at the University of Maryland worked with teams from Andres García and the Georgia Institute of Technology to attach FasL to the surface of a microgel and demonstrate its effectiveness in a small animal model.

They then collaborated with Jim Markmann and Ji Lei of Harvard University to evaluate the efficacy of the FasL-microgel technology in a large animal model, which has been published.


Harvard Scientists Develop a Revolutionary New Treatment for Diabetes




Incorporate the power of NextGen

The study is a major milestone in the process of “lab to bedside” research, how lab results can be used directly by patients to help treat different diseases, MIT’s most ambitious research program yet — Logo of the NextGen Precision Health initiative.


Underscoring the promise of personalized healthcare and the impact of large-scale interdisciplinary collaborations, the NextGen Precision Health Initiative brings together innovators like Shirwan and Yolcu from UM and three other research universities in the UM system and pursue life-changing Precise health progress.

This is a collaborative effort to create a better future for the health of Missourians and beyond by leveraging UM’s research strengths.

The Roy Blunt NextGen Precision Health Building at the University of Michigan is the foundation of the entire program, which also expands collaboration among researchers, clinicians and industry partners in a state-of-the-art research facility.


“I think having a great facility like the Roy Blunt NextGen Precision Health Building in the right institution will allow us to take the necessary steps to build on the results of our existing research to carry out further research and make it faster,” Yolcu said. make the necessary improvements.”


Harvard Scientists Develop a Revolutionary New Treatment for Diabetes


Shirwan and Yolcu, who joined the UM faculty in spring 2020, are among the first researchers to begin work in the NextGen Precision Health Building.

Additionally, after nearly two years at UM, they are now the first researchers at NextGen to have their research papers accepted and published in high-impact peer-reviewed academic journals.


(source:internet, reference only)

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Important Note: The information provided is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice.