Science, like technology, continues to advance, and researchers have developed a so-called “reverse vaccine” that offers new hope for patients with autoimmune diseases. The first tests have already begun.
Researchers at the University of Chicago have taken an important and very revolutionary step in finding treatments for autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.
They have developed a so-called “reverse vaccine”, an innovative way that could change the situation regarding these diseases and eliminate the need for complete destruction of the immune system.
Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system, which normally protects the body from infection, mistakenly begins to attack healthy organs and tissues. The key to this “reverse vaccine” lies in its ability to erase the immune system’s memory of a specific molecule that causes damage.
While this may seem crazy since the immune response against pathogens is essential for survival, this strategy does offer a silver lining in the context of autoimmune diseases.
Revolutionizing the treatment of autoimmune diseases
Currently, autoimmune diseases are treated with immunosuppressants that suppress the entire immune system. Although these treatments are effective, they have a number of side effects due to widespread suppression, making this new strategy even more promising.
This new process is based on the liver’s role in “peripheral immune tolerance,” which prevents the body from producing inappropriate immune responses. By labeling molecules with a sugar called N-acetylgalactosamine (pGal), they are directed to the liver, where immunological tolerance to them develops.
This approach could be applied to virtually any molecule, Teach the immune system to tolerate it instead of attacking it, as is the case with a traditional vaccine.
The good starting point was a study on a mouse that showed similarities to multiple sclerosis. By linking myelin proteins targeted by this disease to pGal through the “reverse vaccine,” the immune system’s attack on myelin was stopped, allowing nerves to function properly and reversing disease symptoms.
Phase 1 clinical trials are already underway to evaluate the safety of this innovative “reversal vaccine” in patients with multiple sclerosis.
Although no “reverse vaccine” has yet been clinically approved, there is no denying that this advance represents a major step forward in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, offering more specific therapy with fewer side effects than currently available options. Science is always advancing.