Approximately 1.2 million people in the United States are suffering from type 1 diabetes. The vaccine that was used for more than 100 years for tuberculosis – bacillus Calmette-Guerin – shows promises in drawing back this disease. Nowadays this vaccine is also used in the treatment of bladder cancer and is well thought-out to be safe.
An announcement was made at the 75th Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association. It said that the FDA is going to test the vaccine on 150 people – the same are in advanced level of type 1 diabetes.
The immune system of a person who suffers from type 1 diabetes destroys cells that create insulin. Instead T-cells are produced and those are creating problems in the pancreatic islets – same place where insulin is produced. This very same vaccine works by removing these T cells.
Patients who were injected with this vaccine had a growth in the levels of a constituent named tumor necrosis factor. The enlarged level of TNF is destroying the T cells which are delaying the creation of insulin.
Furthermore, in an experiment, patients who were injected with the tuberculosis vaccine twice in a period of four weeks’ time frame even started to secrete insulin on their own.
Dr. D. Faustman, director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Immunobiology Laboratory in Boston, is very enthusiastic about the results this vaccine is showing.
“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 also trying to create a regimen that will treat even advanced disease” clarified Dr. Denise.
In addition, the patients will be injected with the vaccine twice in 4 weeks’ time; and afterwards once a year for a 4 year time distance.