Using immune cells to stop the beta cell destruction

colin_dayanScientific title: Gold nanoparticles coupled with selective PAMP ligands to deliver antigen specific immunotherapy
Principal Investigator: Professor Colin Dayan
Institution: University of Cardiff
Project duration: 01/01/2017 – 31/12/2019

Objective: Professor Dayan and his team will use antigen specific immunotherapy (ASI), a technique which involves giving proteins, or protein fragments, derived from the body’s insulin making beta cells to the immune system in such a way that the damaging immune reaction to these proteins is ‘switched off’.

The team propose to bring two areas of research together. The first is the discovery of special molecules that can dampen down the immune system. The team hopes to exploit the protective properties of these molecules and other related small molecules to increase the effectiveness of the ASI. The second research area is using tiny gold nanoparticles to carry the parts of beta cells which cause the immune response, rapidly to the immune system in different parts of the body. Combining these techniques, the team hope that the gold nanoparticles can present the beta cell fragments to the immune system alongside the immune dampening molecules, and in doing so ‘teach’ the immune system to dampen down in response to beta cells, not ramp up.

This technique will be tested for the ability to make favourable changes to the immune system, in human immune cells in the laboratory and in animal models of type 1 diabetes. By the end of the project, the team aim to have developed one or more dual-cargo combinations that can be taken forward into human clinical studies.

Categories: Cure, Prevent, Partnership, Immune Therapies