Defects give the immune system the green light to attack the pancreas
Scientists at Joslin Diabetes Center have found genetic regions that, when defective, allow the immune system to attack the pancreas - the first in a series of mis-steps that lead to type 1 diabetes. Armed with these findings, published today, March 22, in the journal Immunity, the researchers are now trying to hone in on the exact genes involved, in mice and in human patients.
"The significance of this study is that we found the chromosomal regions involved and can now zero in on the precise genes," said Diane Mathis, Ph.D., the study’s principal investigator along with Christophe Benoist, M.D., Ph.D. They head the Section on Immunology and Immunogenetics at Joslin, and hold joint William T. Young Chairs in Diabetes Research. They are also Professors of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. The work was spearheaded by a group of Joslin fellows, hailing from across the globe: Silvia Zucchelli, Ph.D., who has now returned to Italy; Phil Holler, Ph.D., from the U.S.; and Tetsuya Yamagata, M.D., Ph.D, from Japan.
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