Type one diabetes is a widely spread illness that affects 1.25 million people only in the USA. Surprisingly, the vaccine that has been used for tuberculosis for more than 100 years has proven to be quite promising when it comes to reversing this disease. Today, many medical experts and doctors use this vaccine for treating bladder cancer, meaning that this vaccine is safe.
During the 75th Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association, it was announced that the Food and Drugs Administration will test the vaccine on 150 people who are in an advanced stage of type one diabetes.
In type one diabetes, the body isn’t producing insulin because the immune system destroys 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.
The type one diabetes patients who have been injected with the vaccine showed increased 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.
During a previous experiment where this type of patients was injected with the tuberculosis vaccine twice within a month time frame, it’s been shown that the dangerous T cells were eliminated, and in some of these people, insulin started secreting on its own.
Dr. Denise Faustman, director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Immunobiology Laboratory in Boston, was especially excited from the results that the BCG vaccine has been showing.
“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, adding that they will be working again with people who have had type one diabetes for numerous years.
A new trial is announced that will follow the same format as this one and will be conducted in people at the age between 18 and 60. Those 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.
The Diabetes Care journal published an article based on a previous study’s results, where it’s been shown that 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.