Scientists Are Creating Vaccines For Type 1 Diabetes – Interesting Engineering

According to the , a stable 24 amino-acid peptide that activates anti-inflammatory and regulatory white blood cells. This peptide can diminish the immune response that leads to the destruction of beta cells and regulate that immune response to preserve beta cells. This vaccine is on phase III trial. 

  • Altered Peptide Ligand Vaccines

APL vaccines are based on peptide fragments modified with amino acid substitutions that bind to MHC molecules.

MHC is short for Major Histocompatibility Complex. It’s a group of genes that trigger the detection of pathogens and the immune system’s response against them. APL vaccines manipulate this process to induce specific white blood cell responses to prevent them from attacking pancreatic beta cells. 

Insulin-based peptides are candidates to act as altered peptide ligands in this kind of vaccine as they can delay type 1 diabetes, research has shown. 

  • Adjuvant Stimulated Diabetes Vaccines

To overcome the limitations of single peptide vaccines, scientists decided to add ingredients to make them stronger.  

Source: Willfried Wende/Pixabay

This is the case with antigen-specific immunotherapy Dyamid, created by Swedish biotech company Diamyd Medical. It is based on the protein GAD65, an endogenous antigen involved in the pathology of autoimmune diabetes.


In clinical trials, this treatment demonstrated an enhanced, more selective immune response that helped protect beta cells and insulin production. 

Dyamid is currently in large-scale phase III clinical trials. 

  • TB Vaccine, Repurpose 

Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital have found that Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine, created in 1921 to prevent tuberculosis, is also able to normalize blood sugar levels through the regulatory T-cell gene Foxp3, which is usually altered in type 1 diabetes.

By restoring normal gene expression in key immune cells, the vaccine can reduce beta cells destruction, and even increase blood sugar consumption to attain more balanced glucose levels. 

Currently, Massachusetts General Hospital wants to start a pediatric trial but is awaiting approval from the FDA.  

As you can tell, there are several options in different stages of development that may end up being effective treatments against type 1 diabetes. We’ll have to wait to see if they’re going to prevent the illness or even go as far as to cure it. Either way, it’s great news for type 1 diabetics or people at risk of having the disease. 

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