London, Mar 15: Cure for diabetes may be on its way sooner than expected, as scientists have rolled up their sleeves to develop a revolutionary treatment involving a vaccine, universally given to prevent tuberculosis. Doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston are all set to conduct human clinical trials using BCG vaccine, hoping to find a cure for type 1 diabetes. And if all goes well, the treatment could be approved for ordinary patients within four years.
A prior study on mouse models by Dr Denise Faustman showed promising results. '' Hundreds of mice suffering from type 1 diabetes started improving within days after the first injection of BCG was given, and were eventually free of diabetes,'' she said.
The study on humans is aimed at finding if the same strategy of using BCG vaccination can be used to modify the abnormal autoimmune cells present in type 1 diabetes, also called 'juvenile-onset' diabetes, the Daily Mail reported.
Mouse blood is very similar to human blood and a clue as to whether the vaccine programme is working could be available within months of the start of the trial, Dr faustman said.
Dr Faustman, during her 15 years of diabetes researcher, identified that BCG vaccine while combating tuberculosis destroyed the bad white blood cells that causes type one diabetes.
BCG is a generic drug that has been tried and tested for 80 years, Dr Faustman said adding that it will be cheap to administer if this step in the human study shows positive results.