This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

August 6, 2014

Diabetes Breakthrough on the Way

According the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, "Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease in which a person's pancreas stops producing insulin, [the] hormone that enables people to get energy from food. It occurs when the body's immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Its onset has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle." Up to this time, there has been nothing anyone could do to prevent T1D, and nothing anyone could do to get rid of it.

To give you a sense for the magnitude of this disease, in the United States alone, approximately 80 people per day are diagnosed with T1D. That's 15,000 adults and 15,000 children every year who are diagnosed. And unfortunately, the numbers are growing--- worldwide the incidence among children under age 14 is estimated to increase by three percent every year. Across the globe, the costs are in the trillions.

Flying under the radar is a promising breakthrough in T1D treatment---and perhaps reversal of T1D altogether. A brilliant researcher Dr. Denise Faustman at the Massachusetts General Hospital Immunobiology Lab is conducting research to develop a curative therapy for T1D.

This promising program is investigating whether bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccination will eliminate the pancreas-destroying T cells in humans with advanced T1D. BCG is a generic drug that has been used for over 80 years in different vaccination capacities, including in the treatment of tuberculosis. In humans, BCG temporarily elevates levels of a substance called tumor necrosis factor (TNF). A Phase I human clinical trial has demonstrated that elevating TNF can eliminate the bad T cells in the blood of individuals with type T1D, which is showing promising clinical benefits. The researchers are currently testing BCG at different doses and schedules than those that had been used in the past to treat other diseases.

This application of BCG holds great promise for an effective diabetes treatment. This breakthrough represents a major milestone in the effective treatment of autoimmune diseases, which are affecting growing numbers of people across the globe. Perhaps the use of BCG will be a model for the treatment of other autoimmune disease, like Fibromyalgia, Lupus, and Myositis.

For more information or to donate to this important research, visit their website at www.faustmanlab.org or call 617-726-4084.


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