Type 1 diabetes vaccine goes into human studies

Researchers have begun human studies of a new vaccine that is designed to block or reverse type 1 diabetes. A team at Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh is loading microspheres with nucleic acid. In an animal study, the spheres were injected into mice and absorbed by dendritic cells, preventing the cells from producing proteins that spur T cells to attack beta cells. That allowed the pancreas to make more insulin-producing beta cells, correcting the disease.

The researchers say this is a simpler dendritic-cell strategy that could conceivably only require a shot and annual booster injections to manage type 1 diabetes. Data is from human trials is expected in 2010. 

"This is a very exciting approach because in many ways it simplifies what the dendritic-cell approach is all about," Dr. Michael Clare-Salzler, a University of Florida endocrinologist, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "We've been the crazies in left field, but for me it makes ultimate sense."

- check out the press release
- read the article in the Post-Gazette