Scrambling cell communications could thwart Type 1 diabetes

A group of researchers at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh have been developing a novel approach to preventing the onset of Type 1 diabetes. While companies like MacroGenics, Eli Lilly and Tolerx have been working on antibodies that thwart an attack of rogue T cells responsible for the disease, the researchers in Pittsburgh are at work on a vaccine that scrambles the signals white blood cells send to call T cells to the pancreas. If you can stop the signal, they theorize, you can stop the attack. And they've begun safety tests in humans after seeing the approach work well in animal studies.

"Treating at onset in children is the best chance we have," Pittsburgh immunologist Dr. Massimo Trucco tells the AP. And he's been advancing a vaccine that is developed with a patient's blood. The safety tests are being conducted in adult diabetics whose Type 1 cases are too advanced to be affected by the treatment. But the next step will be to test the vaccine in children and determine if this new approach can stop diabetes before it begins.

- read the report from the Associated Press