"Essentially, there is an internal tug-of-war between aggressive T- cells that want to cause the disease and weaker T cells that want to
stop it from occurring," says Dr. Santamaria.
The researchers also developed a unique and inventive nanotechnology-based "vaccine" that selectively boosted the weak white blood T cells, enabling them to effectively counter the damage caused by
their overactive T cell relatives. The vaccine consisted of
nanoparticles (NPs, spheres thousands of times smaller than a single
cell of the body) "coated" with individual T1D-relevant protein
fragments bound to self MHC molecules (pMHC). MHC molecules are used by
another type of white blood cell, called an "antigen presenting cell" to
"present" antigen to T cells as part of all immune responses.
Using a mouse model of T1D, the researchers discovered that their nanovaccine blunted T1D progression in prediabetic mice and restored normal blood sugar in diabetic mice. Further, NPs displaying human
diabetes-relevant complexes restored normal blood sugar levels in a
humanized model of diabetes. The authors pointed out that only the
disease-generated white blood cells responded to the pMHC-NP therapy, so
the treatment would be inconsequential in healthy individuals because
it would not have nonspecific effects on the immune system.
Full story at http://esciencenews.com/articles/2010/04/08/nanovaccine.reverses.autoimmunity.without.general.immunosuppression