New research in type 1 diabetes using PD-L1

Type 1 diabetes is an autoinmune condition in which the immune cells attack the islet cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. It is more frequently presented in younger patients than in older ones. The exact causes of type 1 diabetes are not known, but there is some research that suggests it may be triggered by a viral infection and it also may be an inherited disease. Some symptoms people present with this disease are frequent urination, feeling very thirsty, and weight loss. If diabetes is left untreated, it can cause serious health problems, such as vision loss, kidney failure, and cardiovascular diseases.

Unfortunately, there are not a lot of treatment options for this disease. Most of the time, the patients with type 1 diabetes need insulin injections or an insulin pump because their pancreas cannot produce insulin.  Scientists at the Boston Children’s Hospital are researching immunotherapy treatments to target this disease. One of them is targeting the PD-L1 protein, which is widely known for oncology treatments. PD-L1 present in the surface of cancer cells prevents the T cells from recognizing and attacking those cancer cells, so when PD-L1 is blocked by immunotherapy, the immune system can now target cancer cells and destroy them. In the case of type 1 diabetes, the scientists believe that PD-L1 should be boosted, as it seems that this protein would invalidate the T-cells that destroy the islet cells. The Boston Children’s Hospital and Fate Therapeutics are researching on what would be the most adequate treatment to stimulate PD-L1 to prevent the immune system from attacking the islet cells. This could potentially be a treatment option for people with Type 1 diabetes in the future and at Althian we would be excited about enrolling these type of patients, as we have performed diabetes trials in the past and our team has knowledge in immunotherapies.


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