diabetes vaccine

A team of researchers from the UK are optimistic that a vaccine for type 1 diabetes could be made available “within a generation” as a result of a £4.4 million ($6.6 million) funding boost.

The research, which is being funded by charities Diabetes UK and JDRF, is developing a peptide immunotherapy (PIT) vaccine that aims to protect against the destruction of beta cells by the immune system that occurs within type 1 diabetes.

Peptide immunotherapy

An advantage of the PIT approach is that its effects would be specific to the islet cells of the body and therefore should be safe from causing side effects across other parts of the body.

The funding will help researchers from Kings College London and Cardiff University, in the UK, to continue work on the MonoPepT1De trial, which require a number of studies to find the most effective doses and also whether certain subgroups of patients with type 1 diabetes respond to the treatment better than others.

Optimism

Professor Colin M. Dayan, Director at the Institute of Molecular & Experimental Medicine of Cardiff University, states:

“This funding has already led to a bold new collaboration between UK diabetes scientists and will provide an immense boost for this field as we work towards new clinical trials and a step change in our ability to halt the loss of insulin in type 1 diabetes. Within a year or two we will see many more children and adults taking part in this research. Within four years we expect to see results from studies of more than six potential treatments, and within ten years we hope to see the first vaccine therapies delivered to patients in the clinic.”

Whilst the researchers are optimistic, success is by no means guaranteed and a number of challenges, some of which are anticipated and some of which may not be, could delay the progress of the research.