A possible future of curing Type 1 diabetes by genetic editing way

2020-08-25 11:55

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a chronic condition that body’s immune system attack beta cells in the pancrease which produces insulin. It is commonly diagnosed in children or young people. Currently there are two main hypothesis of curing the T1D: tell immune system to stop attacking beta cells, and provide an alternative source of beta cells protected from immune system.

In July 2020, Peng Yi’s team demonstrated the research result in Nature Metabolism, that during the CRISPR screening for protective mutations in the mice of T1D model, they find out beta cells can be protected from CD8+ cells’ attack by knocking out RNLS gene. In addition, since RNLS is a structure-identified oxidase, by cooporating with Celia Schiffer of University of Massachusetts Medical School, Peng Yi’s team found a FDA approval drug call Pargyline, which inhibit the activity of RNLS.

This research provides a novel target for the study of T1D. In the future it is possible to cure T1D patients by being transplanted with genome-engineered beta cells.


Cai, E., Ishikawa, Y., Zhang, W., Leite, N., Li, J., Hou, S., Kiaf, B., Hollister-Lock, J., Yilmaz, N., Schiffer, C., Melton, D., Kissler, S. and Yi, P., 2020. Genome-scale in vivo CRISPR screen identifies RNLS as a target for beta cell protection in type 1 diabetes. Nature Metabolism,.