Salmonella-based oral vaccine is a potential therapy for preventing type 1 diabetes

April 3, 2016

A City of Hope researcher led the study

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DUARTE, Calif. — A combined vaccine therapy including live Salmonella is a safe and effective way to prevent type 1 diabetes in mice and may point to future human therapies, according to a new study by a City of Hope researcher that was released today at ENDO 2016, the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society, in Boston.

The causes of type 1 diabetes are not fully known. In most cases, the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the part of the pancreas that produces insulin, which results in loss of metabolic control and high blood sugar levels. Earlier studies have investigated inhibiting all immunity in type 1 diabetes and have shown good short-term results, but also serious side effects.

“The current standard of care is to treat the symptom, high blood sugar levels and its consequences, without addressing the underlying autoimmunity,” said lead study author Mohamed I. Husseiny El-Sayed, Ph.D., assistant research professor with City of Hope’s Diabetes & Metabolism Research Institute. “Previous studies have hinted that immunotherapies given in the right way with the right dose and probably as a combination therapy could be effective to treat people with diabetes, and we have now found evidence to this effect in a mouse model.”

The vaccine uses Salmonella typhimurium bacteria expressing autoantigen in combination with other small regulatory proteins called cytokines and a low dose of an immunosuppressive drug called Anti-CD3. Working together, the vaccine rebalances the immune system and prevents the attack on the insulin-producing cells.

In the study titled “Salmonella-Based Combination Immunotherapy for Type 1 Diabetes,” researchers showed that the vaccine prevented diabetes in non-obese diabetic mice and restored normal glucose tolerance.

“Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, meaning that the underlying problem is with the immune system,” El-Sayed said. “This vaccine is a very safe and effective targeted immunotherapy, and we believe it’s a great place to start in the development of a vaccine to stop type 1 diabetes.”

About City of Hope
City of Hope is an independent research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. Designated as one of only 45 comprehensive cancer centers, the highest recognition bestowed by the National Cancer Institute, City of Hope is also a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, with research and treatment protocols that advance care throughout the world. City of Hope is located in Duarte, California, just northeast of Los Angeles, with community clinics throughout Southern California. It is ranked as one of "America's Best Hospitals" in cancer by U.S. News & World Report. Founded in 1913, City of Hope is a pioneer in the fields of bone marrow transplantation, diabetes and numerous breakthrough cancer drugs based on technology developed at the institution.

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