Over 1 million people in the US alone have been diagnosed with type-1 diabetes, which makes it one of the most common and serious conditions. And although conventional treatments and medicine have rarely shown improvements in most patients, our hopes have yet again sparked when a vaccine old 100 years which has previously been used for tuberculosis, has shown a promise in reversing this disease.
The vaccine is currently used often for treating bladder cancer, and has been reported to be safe.
An announcement was made yesterday at the 75th Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association which stated that the FDA will be testing this vaccine on 150 people in their advanced stage of type-1 diabetes.
The condition itself revolves around the body of the patient not producing insulin due to immune system destroying the insulin-creating cells. T cells are produce and these cells create problems with the pancreatic islets, where insulin is produced. What the vaccine does is that it eliminates these T cells.
Diabetes patients injected with this vaccine saw an increase in the levels of a substance known under the name of tumor necrosis factor. The increased levels of TNF in their bodies efficiently destroy these T cells and stimulate the production of insulin.
Patients that were injected with this tuberculosis vaccine during the trials over a four week period have shown incredible improvements – their T cells were gone and some of the patients even started secreting insulin on their own.
The director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Immunobiology Laboratory in Boston, Dr. Denise Faustman, is excited about the results this vaccine has shown.
He has stated that their goal is to create a lasting therapeutic response, and they’re focusing on working again with type-1 diabetes patients for many years to come.
Another trial is about to take place which will be using the same format as the previous trial, on people between the ages of 18-60. The patients will be injected with this vaccine twice in a period of 4 weeks and as time goes by they’ll be injected once a year for 4 years.
The results of a past study have been published in The Diabetes Care Journal and it analyzes the effects of Bacillus Calmette-Geurin (BCG) on kids with diabetes ranging from age 5-15 years. However the results have shown that the tuberculosis vaccine doesn’t keep the beta-cell function or raise the remission rate in kids.