Archive for the ‘Diabetes (Type 1)’ category

Antibody Therapy for Type I Diabetes

January 14, 2007

Islet cellThe suspect? CD137, a T-cell. The crime? Destroying islet cells. The punishment? An antibody specially tailored to attack CD137. The place? University of Pittsburg (and, uh, the pancreas too depending on your perspective).

In this case, the name of the game is prevention, not a cure. In mice that were predisposed to develop diabetes, the anti-CD137 treatment “significantly” slowed the process, but was not able to completely rid the body of CD137’s impact. The story notes that in taking other T-cells, CD4 and CD25 from the treated mice and placing them in immune-deficient mice with the same predispostion, they were able to prevent onset. I’m still scratching my head over how that last part works. Why would the anti-CD137 treatment have any impact on CD4 and CD25? What happened to the CD137 T-cells in the recipient mice, the ones where onset was prevented? The way the story goes, it explains everything except why the transfer of CD4 and CD25 cells had the preventive impact that it did.

The most valuable part of the study seems to be that it verifies the key role of CD137. Given the scope of the immune system, being able to identify your enemy is a good place to start treatment.