December 14, 2009
I am just now back from a trip to Boston MA to participate in the Dr Faustman’s Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) study. The first way into her study was to donate blood for research. I donated 6 vials of my blood and brought along my partner in crime, JR, because he is not related to me and because he does not have any type of autoimmune disease. They also took 4 vials of his blood- as a control study.
Dr Faustman’s research is break-through because it is studying ways to cure Type 1 in people who are CURRENTLY LIVING WITH THE DISEASE- not for those who are newly diagnosed. When I spoke with Dr Faustman on the telephone on Wednesday, December 9th, she was clear (and very happy) that she wanted to help those that are already living with the disease. She understood that there are many people living with Type 1 and that back at diagnosis, maybe there weren’t many options available for cures back then. Maybe we weren’t informed about the cure research organizations back at diagnosis. The window for treatment is so small- about 6 months after diagnosis.
So, Dr Faustman is using her knowledge and her studies with a drug already in use for over 80 years, called BCG. BCG is used currently for tuberculosis immunizations in other countries. It is a generic drug that temporarily elevates TNF levels in the body, and will reduce or eliminate autoimmune T cells in patients with type 1 diabetes. Without the T cells that are destroying (smothering / inhibiting) the pancreas, the pancreas is believed to begin producing insulin once again.
Dr Faustman believes that the pancreas in Type 1 Diabetics is not dead, but suppressed. She believes that once the T cells are reduced, the pancreas will begin to produce its own natural insulins once again, and the body will return to normal fuctioning.
An injection of BCG will last only an allotted amount of time in the body. The length of time the person will remain diabetes free depends on the amount of BCG administered, as well as the response to the drug. This time frame could be from 6 months to 6 years. Since the killer T cells are an autoimmune disease, they will return. When they return, another administration of BCG will need to take affect to return to a diabetes free state.
Blood donation appointments need to be made to participate in this study. The appointments are in high demand and are currently scheduling out to August 2010. (I had to wait 5 months to be seen this past December 10th) If you are not from the Boston area, there are many sites to be seen and many things to do in the area- should you decide to make it a two or three day hotel room stay. I recommend the Hilton on Boylston St. It is within walking distance of the mall as well as many many boutique stores and supermarkets. The museums are beautiful and the convention center is basically downstairs. Dr Faustman’s lab is within 10 mins driving distance from the Hilton and parking is free if tickets are booked online on Orbitz.com.
Phase I trials are closed. It is the part of the study that is proving that the drug is safe. Some patients are receiving small doses of BCG and some are receiving placebos and they are comparing to see if there are any changes caused to BCG other than lowered insulin dosages.
Phase II studies are still open and are based upon your compatibility results from your blood donation.
Please take the time to look at her website: http://www.faustmanlab.org and consider donating your blood or monetary funds. Her entire research project is public supported and needs all the assistance you can offer.
Spread the word.