Diabetes Australia supporting research into the causes of type 1 diabetes

With the support of a grant from the Diabetes Australia Research Trust, Dr Andrew Sutherland from St Vincent’s Institute Medical Research is studying a new way of potentially preventing and treating type 1 diabetes.

“There are a class of immune cells, Th17, that can play a role in the development of type 1 diabetes so we want to identify the molecules these cells produce. This could pave the way for the development of new therapies,” Dr Sutherland said.

“My research will be looking specifically at IL-17F, a protein produced by Th17 that is responsible for cell signaling, that hasn’t previously been studied in type 1 diabetes.

“We have shown that IL-17F causes the dysfunction and death of pancreatic beta cells which may be an important pathway that leads to type 1 diabetes.

“Hopefully, if we can inhibit the function of IL-17F then we can prevent or treat type 1 diabetes in mice.

“If it works in the mouse model, then IL-17F inhibitors could be good candidates for a clinical trial of a drug to prevent type 1 diabetes.”