Only in the USA, 1.25 million people suffer from type one diabetes. On the bright side, a vaccine used more than 100 years ago for tuberculosis (bacillus Calmette-Guerin) has turned out to be promising when it comes to reversing this disease. Nowadays, medical experts and doctors use this vaccine for treating bladder cancer, meaning that this vaccine is safe.
An individual that suffers from type one diabetes faces the problem of their body not producing insulin due to the immune system destroying the cells that create insulin. The body produces T cells, which cause problems in the pancreatic islets, where insulin is being produced. The vaccine actually eliminates these T cells.
People who suffer from diabetes and who have been injected with the vaccine noticed an increase in the levels of a substance called tumor necrosis factor. The increased level of TNF in the system annihilates the T cells which obstruct the process of production of insulin.
In an experiment from before, patients suffering from diabetes type one were injected with the tuberculosis vaccine twice within a month time frame. The results revealed that the dangerous T cells were eliminated, and in some of these people, insulin started secreting on its own.
These result that the BCG vaccine has been showing especially thrilled Dr. Denise Faustman, director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Immunobiology Laboratory in Boston.
In the preliminary phase of the trial we showed a statistically considerable response to BCG, but our aim in this trial is to make a lasting therapeutic response, says Dr. Denise. She adds that they will be working again with people who have had type one diabetes for numerous years. This trial is not a means of prevention, but, instead, it is supposed to create a regimen that will treat even advanced disease.
A new trial will follow that will use the same format as this one, on people at the age between 18 and 60. The patients who will participate in this trial will be injected with the vaccine twice in a period of one month, and then once a year for a four-year time span.
In the Diabetes Care journal it has been published that according to a previous study’s results, the effects of Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) on children with diabetes at the age between 5 and 18 are not as efficient, and the BCG vaccine does not keep the beta-cell function or increase the remission rate.
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