Secret Type 1 cure?

I'm not much of one for explosive headlines, but this one I found interesting.

Read it all, but here's the good part...

BCG's latest feat, though, is perhaps its most unexpected. Several years ago, Harvard professor Denise Faustman showed that BCG could be used to treat diabetes in mice. She demonstrated that the vaccine helped mice to produce a protein which kills off T-cells, which are responsible for type 1 diabetes. With bated breath, the scientific community waited while the same experiments were replicated in humans. What was at stake? A positive finding could mean that diabetes patients no longer had to inject themselves with insulin.

Four years later, Fausmtan and her colleagues have published results from a very small-scale trial in PLoS One. Their work is limited and caveat-laden—the study looked at three patients for just 20 weeks—but the researchers observed the same protein production and T-cell death as they saw in mice. While it's not quite time for diabetes sufferers to pop the champagne corks and stop injecting insulin just yet, it's certainly a major finding that promises a great deal.

Perplexingly, we don't even really know quite what makes BCG so successful. There are hypotheses that suggest that it activates a protein called the "tumor necrosis factor-alpha"—and the diabetes study lends some weight to that idea—but the research community isn't 100 percent sure yet. Put simply, though it seems to be helpful across many conditions, we don't yet know exactly why.

I just emailed this article to my PCP. I said, hey any chance I can get immunized against TB ? We can just tell the insurance company I am traveling to somewhere that has a TB problem. It can't hurt at least that is what the article said. The really interesting part of the article was the comments at the end from people especially the big pharma rep who said unless they can make a profit, no pharma company is going to do trials no matter how useful a drug is.

being from the boston area we follow dr faustmans trials guardedly, i dont believe until i see it works but so greatful that there are those involved and searching. not sure if getting the vacine is the right answer clare! but good for you for being optomistic! i saw another post by you clare and feel the same enthusiasm for the tu experience! i was going to send a shout out to you earlier because we are almost neighbors, we recently switched my son to joslin for umass and are extremely happy with the care and kindness we received from jacobs new doc there, he likes going into the city and he likes feeling valued by his new doc that spent about an hour (unhurried) with us, what a difference, as you've mentioned being heard and sharing with others has so much benefit, best wishes, amy

Hi Amy, while I don't necessarily believe the vaccine will provide a cure, especially since I have had Type 1 for 37 years,at the same time what can it hurt ? Half the planet is immunized for TB as routine care in countries all over the world. The unfortunate thing is that there is no money in it. Big pharma has nothing to gain from this and a whole lot to lose. Including billions for insulin, billions for glucometer strips, billions for disposibles etc. I am generally very cautious about this kind of thing. But my husband has a PhD in immunology and when I showed him the article, he said it made a lot of sense. I am seen at the Joslin clinic in Needham. While I don't find my endo is useful the CDE there is great. My husband used to teach at UMass Medical School and I had our son at Memorial Hospital.

Clare, please keep us up to date on anything you learn about this as a possiblity for improvement for Type 1's. I too don't have too mcuh hope, but all efforts I do find interesting. My concerns are is this treatment identical to the immunization methods, and are the expected side effects?

No this treatment is not identical, as most people are immunized only once and Dr Faustman immunized her subjects twice but with small doses. Since this proved effective the focus now is on getting money for the Phase II clinical trials. The positive is that drug is already approved for use in humans, just not necessarily for this purpose. But that is also the drawback because if big pharma cannot make any money they will never fund the clinical trials. This is pretty much the same thing that happened with DMSO for use in treating arthritis. You can google the BCG vaccine and get a list of the side effects. They don't seem any more extreme than any other vaccine. If you actually read the potential side effects of just about every vaccine you probably would never get any.

Such a shame so much is about making money for the wealthy and not helping those in need, it is such a scam, i wish there was someway to change things up and have people act from kindness and compassion first and make our society less materialistic, all i can do is watch my actions and try to teach my children to do the same, small world clare! lets keep hoping but also accept what our reality is! amy

Amy, I can't just sit back and keep hoping. Instead I will attempt to circumvent the system. I don't want to submit to being a subject in a Phase II clinical trial because that would mean I would have to be randomized into the treatment group or the placebo group. I don't want to chance being in the placebo group and a year down the line find the treatment group improved. I am just going to try and get my PCP on board and either tell the insurance company I am traveling to a TB infested area, or just pay for the vaccine myself. It's cheap which is one of the reasons it will not get funded. And you're right it is a shame and a scam, but it is the world we live in.