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Immunotherapy is `safe` for diabetics

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Washington: A new form of immunotherapy for type 1 diabetes (T1D) has been deemed safe in the first U.S. trial.

In the safety trial, led by UC San Francisco scientists and physicians, patients experienced no serious adverse reactions after receiving infusions of as many as 2.6 billion cells that had been specially selected to protect the body’s ability to produce insulin.

T1D is an autoimmune disease, in which the immune system that normally defends against infections, somehow goes awry and targets insulin-secreting cells, called beta cells, in the pancreas. Many T1D therapies aim to tackle this problem by suppressing the immune response, but that approach can have serious consequences, including an increased susceptibility to infection or cancer.

This could be a game-changer, said first author Jeffrey A. Bluestone, adding “For type 1 diabetes, we’ve traditionally given immunosuppressive drugs, but this trial gives us a new way forward. By using Tregs to ‘re-educate’ the immune system, we may be able to really change the course of this disease.”

The study appears in Science Translational Medicine. (ANI)