August 20, 2012

Dr. Faustman: First steps on the moon to cure Diabetes

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The results of the Phase I trial using BCG to treat  long-term Type 1 diabetes is currently available for all to review. Some naysayers will eat crow. Others will regale in the giant leap to infinity and beyond.

To date, the Phase I clinical trial has shown that the generic BCG vaccine can raise the levels of TNF to kill the disease-causing T cells that attack the pancreas and help to temporarily restore insulin secretion in patients with long-term type 1 diabetes. TNF is an immune system modulator called tumor necrosis factor.  More specifically, TNF alpha is the regulator of cell death among T cells. By elevating the troops on the ground, the body is protected from the misfiring autoreactive T-cells.

In Phase II human clinical testing of BCG, the Fuastman Lab hopes that more frequent or higher BCG dosing will help the body eliminate the disease-causing T cells for a longer time. Theoretically this will possibly restore insulin production to a greater degree and for a more sustained period of time than in the Phase I study.

Back on March 31, 2009 I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Fuastman. She explained the steps in her research much like the steps first taken with the discovery of insulin. Finding an effective dose of BCG to mitigate the autoimmune T-cell attack is vital to the curative treatment of Type 1 diabetes.  What 10 units of insulin may do for one person may overwhelm someone else. The use of BCG is no  different.

Dr. Paul Burn, PhD, formerly a Senior Vice President of R&D for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation said “I have seen how hard it is to get a project from mice into humans, and these are very impressive results.” Yes, sir. And these promising results are likely to parlay into even more impressive results in Phase II.

Currently, $11 million of the total $25.2 million needed has been raised for a Phase II study. Please consider making a donation to support this groundbreaking work by visiting www.faustmanlab.org/support/support.html.

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