Heat shock proteins 10 and 60 - an approach to cure for diabetes

Dr. Abdesalam Azem (PI) – TRDC


Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a metabolic disorder which results from autoimmune destruction of the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Insulin replacement can repair the symptoms of the endocrine disease but it does not stop the autoimmune process. Thus, preventing the development of diabetes by the use of immuno-modulatory drugs is warranted. A vaccine based on a peptide derived from the stress protein Hsp60 has shown promising results in animal models as well as clinical trials. Additionally, a functionally-related protein, Hsp10, has shown positive preliminary results in clinical trials for the treatment of another inflammatory auto-immune disease, rheumatoid arthritis. Based on similarities between these two chronic inflammatory diseases, it is conceivable that Hsp10 might also be useful in the treatment of T1D. We therefore propose here to study the mechanisms of function of Hsp60 and Hsp10 in signaling related to inflammation, and to test the efficacy of Hsp10, by itself and in combination with the Hsp60 vaccine, in the treatment of T1D animal model. We anticipate that in-depth understanding of the signaling function of Hsp60 and Hsp10 will lead to the development of new drugs that may help cure diabetes.