Diabetes Vaccine: December 2006 Archives

The molecular mechanism of a diabetes vaccine revealed

diabetesA team of researchers led by Irun Cohen of the Weizmann Institute of Science Immunology Department has revealed the molecular mechanism of a vaccine for type 1 diabetes.

The new findings should help amplify the effectiveness of the vaccine, which is currently in advanced stages of clinical trials.

Several years ago, Cohen and colleagues developed a vaccine that arrests the progression of type 1 diabetes in laboratory animals. They had discovered that a particular protein called HSP60, or even only a small particular fragment of it – the peptide designated p277 – is able to shut down the autoimmune response causing this disorder. The vaccine is currently being tested in clinical trials in Europe and the United States, but its precise mechanism has until now been unknown.

Researchers trial diabetes vaccine


diabetes vaccineThe trial of the vaccine has been launched this morning at the University of Melbourne, and the researchers say if all goes well it could be as significant as the recently approved vaccine for cervical cancer.

In Melbourne, Samantha Donovan reports.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Type 1 diabetes is the least common form of the disease. Only 10-15 per cent of people with diabetes have it. It's marked by an inability of the pancreas to produce insulin, because the cells that make insulin have been destroyed by the body's own immune system. That's usually triggered by something like a viral infection, which leads the immune system to destroy the cells. The insulin must be replaced by daily injections.

Unlike type 2 diabetes, which can be caused by poor diet and lack of exercise, the cause of type 1 diabetes isn't fully understood. But researchers say there's a strong family link.