In autoimmunity, the immune system fails to recognize self and attacks healthy tissues. For example, in type 1 diabetes, the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas are attacked by autoreactive T cells. The Faustman Lab has identified a key family of immune cells responsible for regulating the immune response. This has led to the discovery of novel antibodies to correct this misregulation as well as a drug screening initiative to discover a role for existing and affordable therapies. Learn more:
For the last 20 years, the Faustman Lab has been the leader in investigating the potential of the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine to prevent and reverse autoimmune diseases including type 1 diabetes. This research has advanced from early mouse studies, moving to mechanistic, in vitro trials and now a multi-trial human clinical research program. The Faustman lab showed that BCG boosts a cytokine called TNF, which is beneficial in autoimmune diseases by directly eliminating the autoreactive T cells that attack the pancreas, as well as by inducing beneficial immune cells called regulatory T cells (Tregs).
In 2018 the Faustman Lab announced long term data on BCG treated patients followed for more than five years. All of the patients in the studies showed a durable and significant improvement in HbA1c. Learn More:
In cancer, the immune system is tricked into not attacking the cancerous cells. The Faustman lab identified a population of regulatory immune cells essential to turning the immune system back on. This has led to the generation of a novel class of antibodies specific to the tumor microenviromonment. Learn more: