cSN50.1 peptide protects islets and stops type 1 diabetes



Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong autoimmune disease that affects over 10 million people worldwide. The current standard of care is lifelong administration of insulin; however, this does not counter the autoimmune attack or eliminate risks for blindness, cardiovascular and renal diseases caused by fluctuating glucose levels. Researchers at Vanderbilt have developed a peptide therapeutic that inhibited diabetes progression for a full year after only 2 days of treatment at the onset of disease.


Insulin-dependent Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a devastating autoimmune disease that destroys beta cells within pancreatic islets. Human islet transplantation and pioneering stem cell research to replace islet cells do not solve this autoimmune issue. Therefore, new therapies to protect islets from autoimmune destruction and allow continuing insulin production are needed.


Dr. Hawiger and colleagues have developed a first-in-class peptide therapeutic, cSN50 peptide, which affords in vivo islet protection following a 2-day course of intense treatment in non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice, a standard model for T1D. This 2-day treatment resulted in a diabetes-free state for one year without apparent toxicity (see graph). Additional analysis of these NOD mice indicated that peptide therapy reduced the accumulation of islet-destructive lymphocytes, while enhancing activation-induced cell death of islet-attacking T and B lymphocytes. Moreover, pro-inflammatory cytokine and chemokine production in immune cells was attenuated.


These results indicate that this novel form of peptide immunotherapy can arrest destruction of insulin-producing beta cells at the site of autoimmune attack within pancreatic islets. This therapy has potential for use either alone or in concert with other therapies during the progression of T1D.



- Protects islets from autoimmune attack

- cSN50 is high solubility and stable

- Reduces inflammation

- Initial studies indicate a plasma half-life of 44hr

- Engineered to cross the plasma membrane


Vanderbilt has both issued and pending patents for this technology. We are seeking either a licensing partner and/or a sponsored research agreement for further development. For additional details, see the PLoS ONE paper published by the Hawiger group on this application:



Jack Hawiger
Robert Collins
Daniel Moore
Jozef Zienkiewicz
Ruth Ann Veach
Licensing manager: 
Janis Elsner

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