WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2016

Clinical trial of type-1 diabetes vaccine conducted by Stanford researchers

A clinical trial of a vaccine designed to combat type-1 diabetes was recently conducted by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and showed promising results in the fight against the disease.

The study was published June 26 in the Science Translational Medicine journal. The clinical trial was multicenter, randomized and double-blind. The study was the first of its kind to stop a particular function of the immune system without disrupting it entirely.

"We're very excited by these results, which suggest that the immunologist's dream of shutting down just a single subset of dysfunctional immune cells without wrecking the whole immune system may be attainable," Lawrence Steinman, professor of pediatrics, neurology and neurological sciences at Stanford, said.

During the clinical trial, the drug was successful at maintaining levels of a blood-borne proxy of insulin over a 12 week dosing schedule. Researchers said this means beta cells were not destructed, as they are in a case of type-1 diabetes, which give researchers hope that the finding will produce a drug that can combat the disease. Beta cells produce insulin after a meal in the body.

"This vaccine is a new concept," Steinman said. "It's shutting off a specific immune response, rather than turning on specific immune responses as conventional vaccines for, say, influenza or polio aim to do."

The efficacy of the vaccine decreased after the initial 12-week period. The vaccine faces other challenges as well, as there has never been a DNA vaccine approved for human use.