BCG vaccine - can it reverse type 1 diabetes mellitus?
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease characterized by the destruction of pancreatic islet cells , which are critical to glucose metabolism by producing insulin,by autoreactive T cells. These lymphocytes mistakenly attack pancreatic islet cells as if they were a foreign body, like a viral or bacterial infection.
In addition, regulatory T-cells (which are often called Tregs) modulate the immune system and would generally reduce the effect of an autoimmune attack. Tregs act like brakes that normally prevent the mistaken attacks, like on the pancreatic islet cells, without affecting the whole immune system. A branch of diabetes research has suggested that Tregs could be the key to treating type 1 diabetes.
Once the pancreatic islet cells are damaged, they no longer produce hormones, especially insulin , that help regulate the levels of blood glucose. Without insulin, the blood glucose levels increase rapidly leading to long-term damage to eyesight, kidneys, limbs, heart and other organs. In fact, type 1 diabetes can be deadly if the uncontrolled blood sugar leads to a life-threatening condition called diabetic ketoacidosis . Without regular insulin injections, a patient has little chance of living beyond a short period of time, and even then it could be a horrifically painful demise.
It is not known what causes this autoimmune disease, although there is strong evidence that genetics is the most important factor. However, other things may be implicated, like vaccine-preventable diseases , which could be important co-factors in the development of the disease. Just to be Continue reading