Could the TB vaccine cure type 1 diabetes? Scientists ‘discover BCG jab can reverse the disease’
REPEAT doses of the TB vaccine could reverse type 1 diabetes, scientists believe - raising hopes of a potential cure.
The BCG jab could reset the immune system, to stop the underlying cause of the disease, new findings suggest.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, that prevents the body from producing insulin.
Insulin is a hormone that helps the body break down glucose in the blood, to give you energy.
It's often described as the key that unlocks the door to the body's cells.
Once that door is unlocked and glucose can enter, the body's cells can use it as fuel.
Without insulin there's no key to unlock the door, and glucose builds up in the blood.
Type 1 diabetes develops when the insulin-producing cells in the body have been destroyed, when the immune system mistakes those cells as an infection and destroys them.
Now, a team of experts at Massachusetts General Hospital, believe the BCG jab could reverse that damage caused to the insulin-producing cells.
In a study carried out in mice, scientists were able to successfully reverse the condition in rodents who had advanced type 1 diabetes.
The jab is currently given to children aged 13 at school as part of the NHS immunisation programme.
But, scientists now believe repeat doses could be the key to curing type 1 diabetes.
Dr Denise Faustman, who led the trial, said the vaccine could trigger a permanent change to the genes in the body that restores immune cells, called Tregs.
Tregs are known as the immune system's "brakes", and normally work to stop the body mistakenly attacking itself.
By "turning on" the brak Continue reading