Promising new treatment for diabetes

September 26, 2005 PRESS RELEASE

The Immunology Regulation Group and Fukuoka University have successfully controlled early graft loss of syngeneic transplanted islets through the regulation of NKT cells, a type of lymphocyte.
Islet transplantation is a promising treatment to achieve insulin-independence in diabetes mellitus patients. However, therapeutic effect is not possible with a single treatment, as most of the transplanted cells are rejected within hours, even with the use of immunosuppressants.
This research found that neutrophil-production of interferon-gamma that triggers early graft loss were activated by NKT cells. Moreover, the results showed that this early graft loss could be prevented through the pretransplant administration of a glycolipid ligand, a-galactosylceramide that selectively activates NKT cells, thereby inhibiting their function.
The results were published in the U.S. science journal The Journal of Experimental Medicine on October 3, 2005.