BCG vaccine could reverse type 1 diabetes, passes Phase I trial
BCG, a vaccine that could reverse type 1 diabetes, has passed a Phase 1 clinical trial. Finding a cure for Type 1 diabetes has been the focus of recent research. The disease has no cure. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the immune system attacks the cells of the pancreas that produce insulin. The first clinical trial shows that BCG vaccine may reverse type 1 diabetes.
Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccination has been shown in a Phase I clinical trial to be safe and effective. Scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the Iacocca Foundation have teamed up and are now planning a Phase II trial. Type 1 diabetes treatment currently involves controlling symptoms of the disease.
"We are making great progress and are really excited to be able to move this potential treatment to the next stage of clinical testing," says Denise Faustman, MD, PhD, director of the Immunobiology Laboratory at the MGH and an associate professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Type 1 diabetes eventually causes complete insulin deficiency. BCG vaccine could potentially prevent loss of insulin, reversing the destruction of beta cells in the pancreas.
Lee A. Iacocca, chairman of the Iacocca Foundation says he made a promise to see an end to type 1 diabetes in his lifetime - he adds, "And I intend to keep it. The public support of this trial and a trial for people with this disease is my dream." Type 1 diabetes claimed the life of Lee Iacocca's wife Mary K. Iacocca, who died from complications. The Iacocca Foundation was established in 1984 and has funded research to find a cure that exceeds 23 million.
BCG vaccine temporarily raises levels of TNF (tumor necrosis factor) in humans and in mice. Doing so with BCG vaccine eliminates abnormal white cells in individuals with type 1 diabetes, leading to reversal of the disease. You can read more about the trial here.