BOSTON, MA (WCMH) — New research from Massachusetts General Hospital shows a common vaccine that has been around for years may help people with Type 1 diabetes.
Researchers say blood sugar levels have remained almost normal for up to 8 years in a group of 9 patients who received the bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine. The drug is an inexpensive, generic vaccine used worldwide to prevent tuberculosis.
“If they get vaccinated twice, there’s a delay. But then, after about 3.5 years, their blood sugars come down, not to the total normal range, but near normal range,” Dr. Denise Faustman, the principal investigator of the trial, told WCVB.
Participants received two doses of the BCG vaccine spaced four weeks apart. It took three years for patients to see results, but eight years after the trial, there is still a lasting impact.
“It’s not only the discovery that something cheap in new cohorts brings down blood sugar, but why. We’ve discovered new pathways for lowering blood sugar,” Faustman told the Boston Business Journal. “It’s an important discovery for the basic science of diabetes care. And by the way, we have a cheap BCG vaccine that seems to be doing it.”
The research must be replicated with more patients before it is ever used clinically. Faustman hopes to expand the current trial to future patients in the near future.