In type 1 diabetes, the immune system of those affected turns against their own body (autoimmune reaction), in particular against the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas (pancreas). Here, scientists from the Helmholtz Center in Munich have now found a mechanism that enhances this autoimmune reaction, making it worse. In a preclinical approach, however, they have managed to break a pharmacological blockade in this type 1 diabetes pathway. This malfunction in the control of the immune system is also due to the so-called T cells, which are not present in sufficient quantities in type 1 diabetics. In these individuals, inhibition of regulatory T cells by certain chemical mechanisms results in undesirably enhanced immune activation. By blocking these mechanisms more regulatory T cells are formed, so that an excessive immune response in the form of destruction of Langerhans cells in the pancreas fails. The researchers now want to combine in a next step, the blocking of the mechanisms with an insulin vaccine, so that the immune system no longer attacks the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. However, a clinical application will only be used in a few years.