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Vaccine for Autoimmune Diseases

Here’s good news for patients with Type 1 diabetes: a breakthrough in the cure of autoimmune diseases has been discovered in Toulouse, France and Berlin, Germany. Researchers from the University Hospital in Toulouse, France and Max Delbruck Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch,Germany have developed a vaccine that can cure autoimmune diseases such as Type I diabetes. An autoimmune disease is one where the immune system starts attacking the body’s own structures.

According to the research, published online in the American Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the vaccine induces “active tolerance” in which the immune system is activated so it no longer attacks the body. Type 1 diabetes falls into the category of autoimmune diseases due to misguided T cells of the immune system which start attacking the cells of the pancreas that produces insulin. Preliminary research with the vaccine proved that it is possible to block misdirected immune systems. The research showed that the vaccine activates antigens – structures that activate the immune system and help activate the suppressor cells that battle against the attacking T cells.The study concluded that immunization with the body’s own antigens can help eradicate autoimmune diseases.

Researchers point out that suppressing undesired immune reactions through specific immunizations with the body’s own antigens will open up a fundamental new approach to treatment, not only of Type 1 diabetes but other autoimmune diseases as well.

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