More than 1.25 million people suffer from type 1 diabetes in the US. The latest researches shows that a vaccine for tuberculosis (bacillus Calmette-Guerin), which is already used for more than 100 years, can reversing the diabetes. This vaccine is considered as safe and it is also used for treating bladder cancer.
At the 75th Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association it was said that this vaccine is going to be tested by the FDA. They will do the test on 150 people who are in an advanced stage of type one diabetes.
This vaccine is able to eliminate the T cells. This cells are produced in the body who has type 1 diabetes and they create problems in the pancreatic islets, where the insulin is created.
It was found that the patients with diabetes who were already injected with this vaccine, destroys the T cells that are hindering the production of insulin. After a four weeks of injection, the dangerous T cells were gone. The patients were injected twice a day and they began to secrete insulin on their own.
“In the phase I (preliminary) trial we demonstrated a statistically significant response to BCG, but our goal in (this trial) is to create a lasting therapeutic response. We will be working again with people who have had type 1 diabetes for many years. This is not a prevention trial; instead, we are trying to create a regimen that will treat even advanced disease.” – said Dr. Denise Faustman, director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Immunobiology Laboratory in Boston.
This summer the vaccine will be tested on 150 people with different range in ages, from 18 to 60 years old. The trial will be done in the same format as was used before by injecting patients, twice a day within a four-week period.
There are some experts who doesn’t believe that the treatment will work.
“I think it’s a stretch to say this would have a huge impact on the millions plus type I diabetes patients in this country. We would love to do something to preserve or repopulate their beta cell mass. Historically, we have watched it dwindle and have not been able to do something (in time).” – said Robert Sobel, an assistant professor of endocrinology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.
The time will show if the vaccine will become a proven cure in treating type 1 diabetes or not.