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New biomarker for T1D?

13. June 2018

T1D scientists have been trying for a long time to find ways to measure changes to the immune system in the blood that could tell us what is happening to the islets and beta cells in the pancreas – which are the targets of the immune attack that causes the disease. The INNODIA laboratory at King’s College London (headed by Prof. Mark Peakman) tried to see whether measuring circulating killer lymphocytes of the immune system could be used to track the health of beta cells, by conducting a study where subjects with T1D were monitored over 2 years. The outcome of this work has just been published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29851415), and it shows that there is a link between the behaviour of killer cells and how much insulin the body is making. The study opens up the possibility of finding easy ways to test killer cell activity and using this to track disease progression– the test would be a new “biomarker” and its use could lead to us being able to make clinical trials shorter when we test new drugs designed to halt T1D.