Genetically-altered T Cells Can Kill The Cells That Cause Diabetes


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A new study has found that a novel T cell genetically engineered by University of Arizona Health Sciences researchers is able to target and attack pathogenic T cells that cause Type 1 diabetes, which could lead to new immunotherapy treatments.

“The 5MCAR was an attempt to figure out if we could build something by biomimicry, using some of evolution’s natural pieces, and redirect T cells to do what we want them to do. We engineered a 5MCAR that would direct killer T cells to target autoimmune T cells that mediate Type 1 diabetes,” said Michael Kuhns, who is member of the UArizona Cancer Center…”So now, a killer T cell will actually recognize another T cell. We flipped T cell-mediated immunity on its head.”

Kuhns worked with Thomas Serwold of the Harvard Medical School-affiliated Joslin Diabetes Center, to test the 5MCAR T cells in a non-obese diabetic mouse model with promising results…

“When we saw that the 5MCAR T cells completely eliminated the harmful T cells that invaded the pancreas, we were blown away,” Serwold said. “It was like they hunted them down. That ability is why we think that 5MCAR T cells have tremendous potential for treating diseases like Type 1 diabetes.”

The future lies ahead…said someone long before folks could tweak and tune genetic material.

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