Imagine being treated for one disease only to learn that form of therapy may lead to another grave condition. New research has revealed that some patients are diagnosed with autoimmune disorders following cancer immunotherapy. According to a study published in the journal Diabetes, roughly 1% develop a form of insulin-dependent diabetes similar to type 1 diabetes (T1D).
JDRF International, The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy and The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust recently announced a collaborative research initiative to better understand this phenomenon and to identify the causes of T1D following checkpoint therapy for cancer. The three non-profits are jointly funding $10 million in autoimmunity research over a three-year period.
“This collaboration combines leading experts in diabetes and cancer immunology to accomplish a feat that has never been achieved: permanently turning off an autoimmune response in humans,” says Dr. Aaron J. Kowalski, JDRF International’s President and CEO. “Investing in this research will help us better understand, in real time, how T1D develops and potentially disable the immune system so that disease progression never happens.”
The initiative marks the first time that prominent cancer immunotherapy and diabetes research organizations have teamed up to explore the link between these two chronic diseases. Investigators are hopeful that their findings will also provide greater insight into the causes of T1D in the broader population.
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