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One Vaccine Can Reverse Type 1 Diabetes

An 8-year study shows that one shot returns blood sugar to near normal levels

Patients with type 1 diabetes can be returned to near-normal blood sugar levels with just one vaccine and a booster shot, according to research from Massachusetts General Hospital. For all 52 of the adults studied, blood sugar levels dropped steadily over a three-year period, then stabilized and have remained normal for the following five years.

The same vaccine has been used for almost a century to treat tuberculosis by boosting a cytokine called TNF. Results from the June 2018 study, however, show that boosting TNF also eliminates the type of white blood cells that attack the pancreas of type 1 diabetics while boosting beneficial immune cells.

“This is clinical validation of the potential to stably lower blood sugars to near normal levels with a safe vaccine, even in patients with longstanding disease,” says Dr. Denise Faustman, director of the MGH Immunobiology Laboratory and the study’s principal investigator.

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