University of Virginia School of Medicine and Vanderbilt University researchers believe they have found a way to prevent type 1 diabetes by restoring the immune system’s natural balance—an approach that may prove effective targeting other autoimmune disorders from lupus to eczema. They seek a biopharma industry partner and the appropriate federal approvals.
Seeking Partnerships with Pharma Sponsors
Both universities are seeking biopharmaceutical industry partners who can make the investigational product—a concentrated form of an antibody called human immunoglobulin, or IgM. The partnering with the right company to producing the product is a vital next step before being able to test the effectiveness at the prevention of diabetes.
The IgM and Diabetes Connection
The two universities commenced collaboration several years ago including Dr. Daniel Moore of Vanderbilt and Dr. Kenneth Brayman transplant surgeon with the University of Virginia. Brayman and Moore have probed the role of IgM in the development of diabetes. They have pursued the question of whether diabetes patients were IgM deficient and this research has them leaning toward the hypothesis that a concentrated dose of IgM may head off the development of the condition.
Part of the Virginia Precision Individualized Medicine for Diabetes (PrIMeD) Project, inspired by the University of Virginia’s Dr. Peter Lobo, an early promoter of IgM and its anti-inflammatory properties.
The Holy Grail
Dr. Brayman reports “The holy grail would be to identify patients at risk using biomarkers or genomics and then intervene in what is called the pre-hypoglycemic phase of autoimmunity. Brayman noted, “These patients are clinically silent (e.g. no symptoms)—their glucose is normal until they reach a threshold below which they don’t have enough beta cells to make enough insulin to prevent from becoming diabetes.”
The team believes that concentrated IgM could help improve treatment for people already struggling with diabetes by facilitating the transplantation of clumps of pancreatic cells called islets—including the insulin-making beta cells.
Dr. Daniel Moore of Vanderbilt
Dr. Kenneth Brayman, Transplantation Surgery
Preeti Chhabra, Research Scientist, Transplantation Surgery
Call to Action: Are you a biopharma company interested in the ability of IgM to prevent diabetes. Contact the University of Virginia.