The concept of vaccination typically conveys notions of protection from viruses and bacteria, where the goal is to activate the immune system to provide specific protection from pathogenic microorganisms (e.g., the influenza virus). Our laboratory is actively developing a “negative vaccine” that will specifically shut off the immune system from recognizing and destroying the cells that produce insulin. In order to create this negative vaccine, we have teamed up with biomaterial engineers to generate biodegradable time-released nanoparticles containing multiple components capable activating regulatory T cells to restore immune regulation.
The University of Florida is seeking companies interested in commercializing a drug-delivery system, including nanoparrticle-coupled regulatory T-cells, for prevention and treatment of Type 1 diabetes and other autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and multiple sclerosis. Additional information about the project can be found at the Office of Technology Licensing.