More hope for the BCG vaccine in type 1-derived diabetes


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At the recent 2021 Annual Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) presented positive updates on their trials of the Calmette-Guérin (BCG) bacillus vaccine to safely reduce and significantly blood sugars.

In type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease that is currently untreated, T cells attack the pancreas and destroy its ability to create insulin, a vital hormone for glucose to enter cells to produce energy. In previous work, Denise Faustman, MD, Ph.D., director of the MGH Immunobiology Laboratory, and colleagues found that BCG increases a substance called TNF, which eliminates harmful T cells and aids in the development of beneficial so-called regulatory T cells, or Tregs.

Key findings include a new understanding of the difference in response to BCG vaccination based on the patient’s age of onset and additional support for the role of BCG vaccination in altering glucose transport and changing Tregs. Currently, 143 type 1 diabetics have received at least two doses of BCG, including 25 patients enrolled in a recently launched adult trial who had a pediatric onset. Pending FDA approval, MGH plans to launch a multicenter pediatric trial later this year.

“More data from randomized double-blind clinical trials will be communicated as we move toward an additional reading of the phase II trial,” says Faustman, principal investigator of MGH’s BCG clinical trials. “We have continued to demonstrate the ability of BCG to restore and restore the immune system.”

In 2018, MGH published the results of the follow-up of the phase I trial of long-term diabetic participants treated with BCG, which showed clinically and statistically significant drops in persistent HbA1c values ​​with eight years of follow-up. The new data presented at the ADA include:

Type 1 diabetics younger than 21 years of age have a faster response time and a larger change in HbA1c than adult-onset type 1 diabetics.

Over a three-year period, BCG returns gene expression in Tregs in type 1 diabetics to a consistent pattern with non-type 1 control subjects.

The two-year HbA1c response in juvenile subjects is consistent with the three-year response seen in the phase 1 study.

“BCG is an old vaccine, but it seems to be introducing new gifts,” says Nigel Curtis, MD, Ph.D., of the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia. He leads global clinical trials on the beneficial and off-target effects of the BCG vaccine, but was not involved in the current study. “These new MGH data add to the growing understanding of how BCG changes the way the body responds to autoimmune and infectious diseases.”

The BCG vaccine leads to a long-term improvement in blood sugar in patients with type 1 diabetes

Citation: Another hope for BCG vaccine in type 1 diabetes derived (2021, June 25) recovered on June 25, 2021 at diabetes.html

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