Attacking Autoimmunity at the Genetic Level

Dr. Stephan Kissler, Investigator in the Section on Immunobiology at Joslin

Stephan Kissler, Joslin’s new addition to the immunology team, is trying to crack the genetic code behind type 1 diabetes. And the end result could prevent the disease from happening in the first place.

Type 1 diabetes happens when the immune system starts destroying the cells that produce insulin. Researchers already know there is a genetic reason underlying the onset of diabetes. Now they’re trying to determine which genes are the actual culprits.

Developments in research techniques over the past five years have allowed scientists to map the genetic blueprint of individuals with and without genetics-based diseases (including type 1 diabetes) and compare the results—a process known as “genome-wide association studies”. This technique, when turned towards type 1 diabetes, reveals more than 50 different genes that are associated in one way or another with the disease.

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  1. This research is what should be the best way to help stop type 1 diabetes. I have
    had type 1 diabetes since 1958. When I was in college many years ago, I used the
    organic compound alloxin to give chickens diabetes. I then ran the amino acids in
    each chicken to study the effects of diabetes on them.
    Thanks for this important research,
    Glen Deason

  2. Thanks so much for your hard work. I am in Year 47 as a Type 1 diagnosed at age 13.Granddaughter diagnosed at age 3 and has been at it 6 years. I want a cure for her more than anything. I also follow Denise Faustman’s work at Mass Gen’l lab in Charlestown as she is working with a tuberculosis drug that can prevnet the destructive cells from “killing off” the insulin producing beta cells. Sounds very promising. Mln C’s

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