More than 1.25 million people are suffering from diabetes type 1 in USA. It is an autoimmune disease that destroys insulin secreting beta cells in pancreas. A new vaccine has been develop and is currently in phase 2 trial. One million patients with type one diabetes still produce a little insulin. There is still a chance to save so many lives.
A vaccine known as BCG (bacillus calmete-guerin), commonly used against tuberculosis, has shown promising results in reversing type one diabetes. BCG vaccine is already approved by FDA for tuberculosis and treatment bladder cancer. According to one research. In phase 1, it was tested on 105 patients with end stage diabetes type 1 and results was fascinating. Vaccine was injected twice within week. Most of the patients even started secreting insulin on their own and abnormal T calls were gone.
Phase 2 of trial was announced at 75th Scientific Session of American Diabetes Association. It will be tested on patients of 18-60 years old range and vaccine will be used more frequently. Vaccine increases the TNF (tissue necrotizing factor) that will destroys abnormal white blood cells that act against body owns tissues. So, the cause will be eliminated and person will start secreting insulin. Dr. Denise Faustman who is the director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Immunobiology Laboratory in Boston said.
“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.”
This trail will be completed in five years. Procedure will be the same as before. Patients will be injected twice within four week and then one injection per year for the next four years. According to Robert Sobel, an assistant professor of endocrinology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, explains why he is skeptical.
“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).
Some people are hopeful that one day they will live a healthy life again. Time will reveal how much hopes are going to be fulfilled. The debate is still going on and we should hope for better results.