New Vaccine Can Completely Reverse Autoimmune Diseases Like Multiple Sclerosis, Type 1 Diabetes, and Crohn’s Disease

Multiple Sclerosis Autoimmune Disorder

Researchers at the University of Chicago have developed an “inverse vaccine” that can reverse autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes without suppressing the overall immune system. The vaccine erases the immune system’s harmful memory of specific molecules, halting the autoimmune response where the immune system wrongly attacks healthy tissues.

Researchers from Pritzker Molecular Engineering, under the guidance of Prof. Jeffrey Hubbell, demonstrated that their compound can eliminate the autoimmune response linked to multiple sclerosis.

Researchers at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME) have developed a novel vaccine that, in laboratory tests, can completely reverse autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, and Crohn’s disease — all without shutting down the rest of the immune system.

A typical vaccine teaches the human immune system to recognize a virus or bacteria as an enemy that should be attacked. The new “inverse vaccine” does just the opposite: it removes the immune system’s memory of one molecule. While such immune memory erasure would be unwanted for infectious diseases, it can stop autoimmune reactions like those seen in multiple sclerosis, type I diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or Crohn’s disease, in which the immune system attacks a person’s healthy tissues.

The inverse vaccine, described in a recent paper published in Nature Biomedical Engineering, takes advantage of how the liver naturally marks molecules from broken-down cells with “do not attack” flags to prevent autoimmune reactions to cells that die by natural processes. PME researchers coupled an antigen — a molecule being attacked by the immune system— with a molecule resembling a fragment of an aged cell that the liver would recognize as friend, rather than foe. The team showed how the vaccine could successfully stop the autoimmune reaction associated with a multiple-sclerosis-like disease.

“In the past, we showed that we could use this approach to prevent autoimmunity,” said Jeffrey Hubbell, the Eugene Bell Professor in Tissue Engineering and lead author of the new paper. “But what is so exciting about this work is that we have shown that we can treat diseases like multiple sclerosis after there is already ongoing inflammation, which is more useful in a real-world context.”

Unwinding an immune response

The job of the immune system’s T cells is to recognize unwanted cells and molecules — from viruses and bacteria to cancers — as foreign to the body and get rid of them. Once T cells launch an initial attack against an antigen, they retain a memory of the invader to eliminate it more quickly in the future.

T cells can make mistakes, however, and recognize healthy cells as foreign. In people with Crohn’s disease, for instance, the immune system attacks cells of the small intestine; in those with multiple sclerosis, T cells mount an attack against myelin, the protective coating around nerves.

Hubbell and his colleagues knew that the body has a mechanism for ensuring that immune reactions don’t occur in response to every damaged cell in the body— a phenomenon known as peripheral immune tolerance and carried out in the liver. They discovered in recent years that tagging molecules with a sugar known as N-acetylgalactosamine (pGal) could mimic this process, sending the molecules to the liver where tolerance to them develops.

“The idea is that we can attach any molecule we want to pGal and it will teach the immune system to tolerate it,” explained Hubbell. “Rather than rev up immunity as with a vaccine, we can tamp it down in a very specific way with an inverse vaccine.”

In the new study, the researchers focused on a multiple-sclerosis-like disease in which the immune system attacks myelin, leading to weakness and numbness, loss of vision and, eventually mobility problems and paralysis. The team linked myelin proteins to pGal and tested the effect of the new inverse vaccine. The immune system, they found, stopped attacking myelin, allowing nerves to function correctly again and reversing symptoms of disease in animals.

In a series of other experiments, the scientists showed that the same approach worked to minimize other ongoing immune reactions.

Toward clinical trials

Today, autoimmune diseases are generally treated with drugs that broadly shut down the immune system.

“These treatments can be very effective, but you’re also blocking the immune responses necessary to fight off infections and so there are a lot of side effects,” said Hubbell. “If we could treat patients with an inverse vaccine instead, it could be much more specific and lead to fewer side effects.”

More work is needed to study Hubbell’s pGal compounds in humans, but initial phase I safety trials have already been carried out in people with celiac disease, an autoimmune disease that is associated with eating wheat, barley, and rye, and phase I safety trials are underway in multiple sclerosis. Those trials are conducted by the pharmaceutical company Anokion SA, which helped fund the new work and which Hubbell cofounded and is a consultant, board member, and equity holder. The Alper Family Foundation also helped fund the research.

“There are no clinically approved inverse vaccines yet, but we’re incredibly excited about moving this technology forward,” says Hubbell.

Reference: “Synthetically glycosylated antigens for the antigen-specific suppression of established immune responses” by Andrew C. Tremain, Rachel P. Wallace, Kristen M. Lorentz, Thomas B. Thornley, Jennifer T. Antane, Michal R. Raczy, Joseph W. Reda, Aaron T. Alpar, Anna J. Slezak, Elyse A. Watkins, Chitavi D. Maulloo, Erica Budina, Ani Solanki, Mindy Nguyen, David J. Bischoff, Jamie L. Harrington, Rabinarayan Mishra, Gregory P. Conley, Romain Marlin, Nathalie Dereuddre-Bosquet, Anne-Sophie Gallouët, Roger LeGrand, D. Scott Wilson, Stephan Kontos and Jeffrey A. Hubbell, 7 September 2023, Nature Biomedical Engineering.
DOI: 10.1038/s41551-023-01086-2

43 Comments on "New Vaccine Can Completely Reverse Autoimmune Diseases Like Multiple Sclerosis, Type 1 Diabetes, and Crohn’s Disease"

  1. If this works out, it sounds to me like the greatest development in medicine in decades, maybe since the cat scan, or solid organ transplants. Curing autoimmune disease would be quite nice, thank you. Will this work on my allergies?

  2. wonderful news, I have been suffering for the last 30 years with crohn’s and have been treated with all available drugs without success. Was at my last visit with y long term dr. and they said there was nothing left to try

  3. This sounds promising. I look forward to a time when my granddaughter’s life isn’t dependent on insulin. She’s only 10 yrs old; she has Type 1 diabetes, celiacs disease and hypothyroidism. My fear is that the cost will be prohibitive and insurance won’t cover it.

  4. I like the Midjourney art lol

  5. Sounds interesting. Let me guess, 10 to 20 more years until it is released to the public.

  6. parent of 3 w/TSC | September 14, 2023 at 9:17 am | Reply

    nah. the human body is not meant to need a vaccine to cure these things. there are many other options that don’t involve injecting things into the body and bypassing our entire system. The downstream side effects will be significant, and until there is no profit motive with these “treatments” coming from our allopathic system, they will have a shadow element.

  7. I have MS and since any treatments that work are not in the U.S. this seems wonderful I just hope it doesn’t take long to approve it.

  8. I have MS and since any treatments that work are not in the U.S. this seems wonderful I just hope it doesn’t take long to approve it.

  9. This research sounds great but can it be “trusted”, or is it something that will cause more harm then good, better research it more and not trust before using, remember Covid and the aftermath of the “jabs” and remember a certain Dr. F who demanded the American people must take it.
    I for one no longer trust the medical field, government or the press.

    • Harboring and believing conspiracy theories are not good for your mental health or your loved ones. It creates mental illnesses that do irreparable damage to your cognition and brain function. Please consider seeking a therapist.

  10. The loons in here with their tinfoil hats on about vaccines need to get off and stay off the internet. Its hurting your brain and I’m sure the damage is irreversible at this point

  11. this is fing brilliant wonderful news. good job, eggheads. so much good for so many people. hope the crazies don’t try to twist this news with weird conspiracy nonsense. and i’m sure insirance would have to cover it, as it saves them oodles of money in the long run

  12. No mention of SLE (Lupus)? Seems like that is probably the worst of the bunch.

  13. Thank goodness. I’ve been suffering for a while and really could use some good news. Me and my family had the Covid vaccines and none of us had any side effects from it. I trust the medical science and won’t go back to the dark ages with the anti-vax nutjobs. No polio, measles, typhoid etc. I really can’t see how they can deny such empirical evidence.

    • The problem is the covid vaccines are not even vaccines by rhe original definition of vaccine and, THEY DID NOT WORK. Many people who received all the shots still got covid and many had life destroying side effects. A vaccine is supposed to prevent not mitigate a disease like the government bs claimed it did.

      • It most certainly DID WORK. You’re still alive aren’t you, it didn’t spread like wildfire and kill you and countless millions of other people. Unfortunately there is always a percentage of the population who suffer side effects from vaccinations but millions benefitted as we achieved herd immunity

  14. Here is a most worthy and guaranteed Nobel Prize in Medicine. Their inverse vaccine technology is the perfect marriage of genius and modern science. Even a real Sherlock Holmes would gasp in amazement at this news. I place this medical achievement inside the top ten scientific achievements ever.

    • After they gave a Nobel Peace Prize to the terrorist Yasser Arafat and one to Barak Obama after a few days in office I no longer hold a Nobel Prize in such great esteem,

  15. I’ll have to keep my eyes on this. If it can reverse neurological/CNS autoimmune diseases such as MS, perhaps there is hope for similar treatment for us narcoleptics. Provigil gets me to a baseline of functionality, but I’ve never not felt tired in my life.

  16. Of all things discovered through the years like this and others like a cancer cure that I have seen will never see the light of day. Why? It would destroy the industry.

    • There is no “cancer” cure because cancer is not one disease. Cancer is THOUSANDS of different diseases, all with varying methods of treatment. Literally any part of your living body can grow cancerous cells. If there was a one and done cancer cure, you better believe the pharma companies would jump on that, they’d make a fortune.

  17. Frederick J. Mullins | September 15, 2023 at 2:14 pm | Reply

    No mention of Lupus???

  18. What about Hashimotos Thyroiditis?

  19. The article did not mention that it could regrow the Mylin Sheath that surrounds the brain, which is depleted in MS patients and cause the majority of the symptoms. As well in does not say whether this therapy is DNA or the MRNA variety. I will see how phase one turns out.

  20. thanks, but no, thanks. Vaccinate Bill Gates 1st as a test subject

  21. Crohn’s isn’t autoimmune…its “immune-mediated”. There are not autoantibodies and the body is not attacking its own tissue. I don’t know why that overused term is still being thrown around. It really is detrimental to medical progress. Crohn’s, in some way, shape or form, involves bacteria- either an abnormal immune response to normal bacteria, dysbiosis or unidentified pathogen(s). That’s not “autoimmune”.

  22. Just wondering whether this might help with arthritis, or with Graves disease. Who might one write to, to find out if there will be clinical trials?

    • It may work with rheumatoid arthritis, which is caused by an autoimmune disorder, as is Graves disease. Osteoarthritis, probably not, but more old diseases are suspected to have an autoimmune origin every year.

      One could contact Anokion SA to find if any trials are proposed, but I’m afraid studies like this are exciting because they may benefit other people decades from now. The current trials aren’t about efficacy, as it seemed to work “in the lab” instead of in people (in vitro? The study is paywalled), only about the safety of the treatment. Other countries may try, or maybe some renegade chemist biohacker can replicate results, so we read scitechdaily and hope, but it may take decades to find out. Since it sounds like you or someone you know suffers from autoimmune disease, I wish the best of luck as we read hoping for a better world.

  23. BS, prove it! Zero credibility after Covid. Double blind studies with ALL data published and pharmaceutical company gets no immunity.

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