May 28, 2013

Brake Pumping Immune Protein in T1D

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immune-proteinCould there be a way to arrest the autoimmune attack that causes T1D before it ever begins destroying insulin-producing cells? Researchers in Melbourne believe they may be on to something and they’ve published the findings in Nature Immunology.

T1D may be due to the immune system overreacting to a stimulus. To take this a step further, researchers in this study looked at a protein that is responsible for protecting the body against excessive immune responses.

The name of this protein is CD52. It  is responsible for suppressing the immune response and protecting against autoimmune diseases. CD52 is the regulator in the body that tells the immune system to back-off.

“Immune suppression by CD52 is a previously undiscovered mechanism that the body uses to regulate itself, and protect itself against excessive or damaging immune responses,” Professor Harrison said. “We are excited about the prospect of developing this discovery to clinical trials as soon as possible, to see if CD52 can be used to prevent and treat type 1 diabetes and other autoimmune diseases. This has already elicited interest from pharmaceutical companies.”

T cells that have or release high levels of CD52 are necessary to maintain normal balance in the immune system. Cells that release CD52 are essential to prevent the development of T1D.

Future clinical trials will investigate the potential benefits of measuring levels of CD52 in T1D and finding a way to help prevent the development of the disease.

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