What's the Latest Development?
Parallel developments in research may bring sufferers of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes very near a cure. A team of physicians at Massachusetts General Hospital have found a tuberculosis vaccine, called BCG, prevents T cells from destroying insulin-secreting cells, allowing the pancreas to regenerate and begin producing insulin again, curing the disease. Meanwhile, researchers in the U.K. have pioneered an extremely low-calorie diet of just 600 calories a day. In addition to lowering body fat, insulin levels returned to normal. Out of the eleven participants on the diet, seven were diabetes-free just three months later.
What's the Big Idea?
According to Al Jazeera: "More than 300 million people around the world have diabetes, with around 90 per cent of those suffering from the type two version, caused by high levels of glucose in the blood, which is linked to over-eating and obesity. In 2004, about 3.4 million people died as a result from the disease, and deaths from diabetes are expected to double by 2030." The results of the tuberculosis vaccine being tested against Type 1 diabetes contradict an essential paradigm of diabetes therapy—that once the insulin-secreting beta cells of the pancreas have been destroyed, they are gone forever.