Researchers at the University of Chicago have developed a new type of vaccine that can reverse autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, and Crohn’s disease. The vaccine works by erasing the immune system’s harmful memory of specific molecules that are wrongly attacked as foreign. The vaccine combines an antigen (a molecule that triggers an immune response) with a fragment of an aged cell that the liver recognizes as harmless. This way, the vaccine teaches the immune system to stop attacking the antigen and halt the autoimmune reaction.
The vaccine has been tested in laboratory mice with a multiple-sclerosis-like disease and showed promising results. The vaccine was able to stop the inflammation and damage caused by the immune system to the protective coating around nerves. The vaccine also did not affect the rest of the immune system, which means it did not increase the risk of infections or cancers.
The researchers hope that their vaccine can be used to treat various autoimmune diseases in humans in the future. They also plan to test the vaccine in other animal models and optimize its delivery and dosage. The vaccine is an example of how molecular engineering can be used to manipulate the immune system and improve health outcomes.