A Promising (Preclinical) Vaccine for Type 1 Diabetes

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Credit: Science Advances

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could take a vaccine in infancy, and type 1 diabetes (T1D) would not develop? Preclinical research suggests it might not be that far away.

The viral hypothesis posits that a viral infection may be partly responsible for T1D. The main culprit appears to be coxsackievirus B (CVB)—a common pathogen where, in most circumstances, the infection is asymptomatic or results in mild symptoms. There are no available vaccines that target CVBs. Furthermore, there are six types of CVBs, and different CVB infections cause different diseases. What if you could vaccinate against several CVB types with one vaccine? We could potentially prevent multiple diseases.

Published in Science Advances, researchers—including JDRF-funded Heikki Hyöty, Ph.D., and Malin Flodström-Tullberg, Ph.D.—report that a vaccine that they developed against all of the CVB types worked in providing immunity against CVB infections, including protecting against the development of T1D. (It could also help with other CVB-induced diseases, like meningitis, heart inflammation and hand, foot and mouth disease.)

What’s next? The JDRF T1D Fund has invested in Provention Bio, which is developing a human vaccine against CVB infection, which could enter clinical trials this year. Such a vaccine could keep a large percentage of the population from developing T1D in the first place. Stay tuned.

You can read more on our plans to make T1D preventable by going here.