Research ArticleImmunotherapy

Type 1 diabetes immunotherapy using polyclonal regulatory T cells

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Science Translational Medicine  25 Nov 2015:
Vol. 7, Issue 315, pp. 315ra189
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aad4134

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Regulating type 1 diabetes

In patients with type 1 diabetes (T1D), immune cells attack the insulin-producing β cells of the pancreas. The resulting prolonged increase in blood sugar levels can lead to serious complications including heart disease and kidney failure. Regulatory T cells (Tregs) have been shown to be defective in autoimmune diseases. Now, Bluestone et al. report a phase 1 trial of adoptive Treg immunotherapy to repair or replace Tregs in type 1 diabetics. The ex vivo–expanded polyclonal Tregs were long-lived after transfer and retained a broad Treg phenotype long-term. Moreover, the therapy was safe, supporting efficacy testing in further trials.