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Type 1 diabetes affects millions of people around the world. A vaccine used over a century ago for tuberculosis has been found to have a potential to combat this disease.

The vaccine is now often used in the treatment of bladder cancer.

According to an announcement made on September 2016 at the 75th Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association, the FDA would test the vaccine on 150 individuals who are in the advanced phase of Diabetes Type 1.

The body of an individual suffering from type 1 diabetes doesn’t produce insulin as a result of the immune system destroying the cells that generate insulin.

T cells are created and they bring complications in the pancreatic islets, which is where insulin is produced. The role of the vaccine is to eliminate the T cells.

Diabetes patients injected with the vaccine experienced improvement in the levels of a substance known as tumour necrosis factor (TNF).

The high level of TNF in the system leads to the destruction of T cells that undermine insulin production.

Dr. Denise Faustman, director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Immunobiology Laboratory in Boston, was impressed with the results of the vaccine. He explained:

“In the phase I (preliminary) trial we demonstrated a statistically significant response to BCG, but our goal in (this trial) is to create a lasting therapeutic response.
We will be working again with people who have had type 1 diabetes for many years.
This is not a prevention trial; instead, we are trying to create a regimen that will treat even advanced disease.”
 Another trial was set to be conducted on individuals aged between 18 and 60 years. The participants would be injected with the vaccine twice in a one-month period, and then once a year in a span of 4 years.

The Diabetes Care journal published the findings of a past study that analyzed the effects of Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) on diabetic children aged between 5 and 18 years.

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According to the findings, the BGC vaccine does not keep the beta-cell function or increase the remission rate in children.