An Open Letter from Dr. Denise Faustman

Amylia Grace Yeaman Health Guide
  • Note:  I'm a big fan of Dr. Faustman's work to help Type 1 diabetics like myself who have had the disease for many years. As an often overlooked demographic, those of us living with Type 1 diabetes should not be forgotten when it comes to research and a cure!


    Though it is the faces of children with diabetes that bring in the big bucks, the truth is that those cute little kids grow up...and still have Type 1 "Juvenile Diabetes." It's not as though one grows out of it nor is it possible to reverse Type 1 diabetes, as anyone reading this likely knows all too well.


    As a longtime follower of Dr. Faustman's work and a supporter of her lab at Mass General, I freely admit my desire to share her work with a larger audience, and thereby share with you her final update for 2011, and her/our/my hopes for the future of Type 1 diabetics everywhere.

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    Dear Friends,


    We've come a long way since 2001, when we first announced we could reverse type 1 diabetes-in mice. Today, all of our type 1 diabetes work is in humans. In fact, we no longer even have mice at the lab! Our success, which includes bringing a generic drug called BCG successfully through Phase I testing, is the fruition of over 20 years of research-research that has helped to redefine how we look at the treatment of this disease.


    One of the things that makes our trials unique is that we are testing a vaccination treatment approach for people who have been diabetic for many years. This is unlike other type 1 diabetes trials, which tend to look at ways to prevent or delay type 1 diabetes, or to focus only on those who have just been diagnosed. While necessary, those trials leave out a whole population of people who have been living with type 1 diabetes for a long time.


    In the upcoming Phase II human clinical trial with repeat BCG vaccinations, we will work to refine our dosing and identify how frequently patients would need to be treated to try to sustain the beneficial effects of BCG vaccination that we saw during the Phase I study. In that study, participants who had been diabetic for an average of 15 years began to briefly produce small amounts of insulin when we interrupted the autoimmune attack.


    We hope that our efforts will translate into a treatment that can put type 1 diabetes into remission, sparing people with type 1 diabetes the need to so frequently monitor glucose levels or frequently administer insulin-and better protecting them against the dangerous fluctuations in blood glucose levels. We also hope that if our trials demonstrate that the generic BCG vaccination is an effective diabetes treatment, its approval would help to reduce diabetes-related healthcare costs, which are so burdensome on families.


    Thank you so much for supporting these human clinical trials to reverse diabetes! Happy Holidays!


    Denise L. Faustman, MD, PhD

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Published On: December 09, 2011