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€1.7m Eurostars awarded to: Cure diabetes with the help of sugars!

FFUND congratulates DC4U Technologies, Intavis Peptide Services, Prof. Bart Roep (LUMC), and Prof. Karsten Kretschmer (Dresden University) with their Eurostars grant of €1.7m! 

The project is led by DC4U Technologies, a Dutch life science company that developed GlycoDCTM: a technology that enables steering the human immune response. Together with 3 other parties, they now initiated the project ‘Dendritic Cell Targeting for T-Cell-Induced Reintroduction Of Tolerance In Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus’, which has successfully obtained a Eurostars grant of €1.7m.  

What is the project about? 

In the effort to find a cure for type 1 diabetes, LUMC unexpectedly found that we can use sugars to re-educate the human immune response to restore tolerance to the insulin-producing Langerhans cell in the pancreas. The results of previous clinical studies have revealed that it is feasible to modulate the immune response and induce tolerance to pro-insulin using immune cells from the patient. The Eurostars grant will be used to integrate these scientific findings with the DC4U GlycoDCTM platform technology to develop a solution for type 1 Diabetes. 

The team of scientists have developed an ‘inverse vaccine’ to teach the immune system not to attack pancreatic islets. They were successful to show that a cell therapy based on the patients’ own immune cells could be safely injected back into the type 1 diabetic patient to restore immune tolerance to these islets. While they have been preparing the next clinical trial assessing clinical efficacy to rescue these insulin-producing islets, they have already developed a next-generation cell-free immune therapy together with DC4U and other partners. 

Ironically, the team uses special sugars as cues to re-educate the immune response and restore tolerance to the insulin-producing Langerhans cell in the pancreas. While previous clinical studies proved that it is safe and feasible to modulate the immune response and selectively induce immune tolerance, this procedure is complex, personal, expensive and laborious. With the technology of DC4U the team can provide an off-the-shelf alternative that is potentially as effective and readily useful and accessible to many patients. FFUND supported the scientists in the application process and was essential for the success in selecting the consortium partners and obtaining funding.

Ambition

One of the professors, Bart Roep (LUMC) about his dream: “I have devoted my academic and professional career trying to elucidate the mechanisms leading to type 1 diabetes to find a cure for this disease. My ambition is and remains to cure type 1 diabetes. The revolutionary approach provided by the consortium will support me in my goals and we will set an important step in this direction. With this Eurostars project we will be one step further in this process and hopefully find a solution for millions of patients suffering from this condition.” 

Prof. Bart Roep, LUMC Leiden

How did FFUND help? 

“FFUND supported us in the application process and was essential for the success in selecting the consortium partners and obtain funding.” – DC4U 

FFUND too was impressed by the complex technology and was honored to support DC4U in the trajectory of the application process. Katja Jansen PhD, consultant at FFUND, oversaw project management. Due to her scientific background and to FFUND’s extensive network and expertise, DC4U was able to obtain funding and successfully select consortium partners.  

A big shout out to this Eurostars consortium and their amazing people. Good luck with your next steps, you really make the world a better place. We will continue to follow you! 

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