Only in the United States, there are 1.25 million people who suffer from type 1 diabetes. One vaccine, which has been used over 100 hundred years for treating tuberculosis, called bacillus Calmette-Guerin, has shown promise in reversing this kind of disease. The vaccine is now commonly used for treating bladder cancer and is considered as one safe alternative.
An announcement, which was made yesterday at the 75th Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association, has said that the FDA will test the vaccine on 150 people who are already in an advanced stage of the 1 type diabetes.
The body of the person that suffers from type 1 diabetes does not produce insulin, as the immunity destroys the cells that create it. T cells are produced, and they create some problems in the pancreatic islets, where the insulin is produced. The vaccine works in a way that eliminates the T cells.
Those patients suffering from this disease were injected with the vaccine and they saw an increase in the levels of substance called tumor necrosis factor. The increased level of this tumor necrosis factor (TNF) in the system destroys the T cells which are hindering the insulin production.
In one previous trial, some patients were injected with the tuberculosis vaccine two times within a four-week time frame. According to the results, the dangerous T cells were gone and some of the people even began to secrete insulin on their own.
The director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Immunobiology Laboratory in Boston, named Dr. Denise Faustman, is very excited about the results that the BCG vaccine has been showing.
She explained: “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 diabetes type 1 for many years. This is not a prevention trial; instead, we are trying to create a regimen that will treat even advanced disease”.
There is also a new trial coming, which will use the same format as the one before, on people from 18 to 60 years. The people will be injected with the vaccine two times in a 4 weeks period, and after that once a year for a 4 – year time span.
Some results of a past study which analyzed the effects of Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) on kids with diabetes at the age between 5 and 18 were published in the Diabetes Care journal. They showed that the vaccine does not keep the beta-cell function or raise the remission rate in kids.