Targeting autoimmune diabetes with gene therapy

Nick Giannoukakis, William A. Rudert, Paul D. Robbins, Massimo Trucco

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


The autoimmune nature of insulin-dependent, or type 1, diabetes targets the β-cells of the pancreas for destruction and results in a lifelong commitment to insulin replacement therapy. Although the number of formulations and dosing of insulin have become more sophisticated and more efficient in recent years, insulin therapy alone is unable to prevent nephropathy, retinopathy, or vascular and heart disease, which still occur in a large number of patients. Different approaches have been attempted to eliminate the requirement of exogenous insulin administration. Historically, these have included pancreatic and islet transplants, which were later combined with treatments intended to halt the destructive process directed against the islets. Despite significant advances made in all of these areas, each approach faces a hostile immunological response that frequently ends with the loss of the islets. Gene therapy-based approaches add a new dimension to the efforts aimed at specifically blocking the immunological attack against the islets in genetically at-risk individuals (autoimmunity) or the immunological response against transplanted allogeneic islets (rejection). This new technology may have an important role in the therapy and cure of type 1 diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2107-2121
Number of pages15
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


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