Investigating the Role of Regulatory T Cells in T1D

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A video explains a potential new immune therapy in the words of the T1D investigator and one of the clinical study participants

JDRF Research in the Field spoke to the lead investigator, Dr. Stephen Gitelman at the University of California San Francisco’s Children’s Hospital, who enrolled 14 people recently diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) and followed them for nearly two years to evaluate a novel immune therapy targeting the regulatory T cell (Tregs) imbalance with the goal of correcting one of the key defects in the immune system that causes T1D. The Treg cells in the immune system help shut off the immune response when no longer needed to respond to an infection or foreign substance, essentially acting as the master police of the immune system. In T1D the Treg role is overwhelmed by the autoimmune process, so this therapy is designed to restore the normal balance within the immune system. In addition to talking to Dr. Gitelman, we spoke to a person recently diagnosed with T1D Dr. Mary Rooney who participated in the pilot study about her experience.

According to Dr. Gitelman, “The good news from our trial was it went very well; the therapy was tolerated and it sets the stage for moving forward for the phase 2 trial. We are planning to enroll approximately 100 people in the next study where we will look at not only safety, but effectiveness.” The next study will involve a new group of individuals which will begin this spring in California and Connecticut. Dr. Rooney adds, “My ultimate hope for this therapy is that it can stop diabetes in its tracks.”

For more information on next phase of this study and to learn more about JDRF restoration, click here.