Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease that occurs in genetically susceptible individuals. Regulatory T cells (Tregs) have been shown to be defective in the autoimmune disease setting. Thus, efforts to repair or replace Tregs in T1D may reverse autoimmunity and protect the remaining insulin-producing β cells. On the basis of this premise, a robust technique has been developed to isolate and expand Tregs from patients with T1D. The expanded Tregs retained their T cell receptor diversity and demonstrated enhanced functional activity. We report on a phase 1 trial to assess safety of Treg adoptive immunotherapy in T1D. Fourteen adult subjects with T1D, in four dosing cohorts, received ex vivo-expanded autologous CD4(+)CD127(lo/-)CD25(+) polyclonal Tregs (0.05 × 10(8) to 26 × 10(8) cells). A subset of the adoptively transferred Tregs was long-lived, with up to 25% of the peak level remaining in the circulation at 1 year after transfer. Immune studies showed transient increases in Tregs in recipients and retained a broad Treg FOXP3(+)CD4(+)CD25(hi)CD127(lo) phenotype long-term. There were no infusion reactions or cell therapy-related high-grade adverse events. C-peptide levels persisted out to 2+ years after transfer in several individuals. These results support the development of a phase 2 trial to test efficacy of the Treg therapy.
Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.