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Tuberculosis Vaccine Could Mean Less Insulin Injections for Diabetics

insulin syringes and bottleFor the 25.8 million diabetic Americans tired of routinely injecting themselves with insulin, a new remedy may be able to keep them from needing to poke away at their skin day after day. Experts have searched high and low for a miracle treatment, however, the answer may have simply been waiting in doctors’ offices for the past century. Latest experiments reveal that the tuberculosis vaccine, which has already been given to 4 billion worldwide, may play an even larger role in insulin production.

The immune system of patients who suffer from type 1 diabetes  destroys beta cells which produce insulin, a hormone responsible for metabolizing carbohydrates and fats while causing absorption of glucose in the liver and muscle. Without insulin, glucose levels in the blood are abnormally high and the body begins to use fats as sources of energy, causing side effects such as unexplained weight loss, blurred vision, severe tiredness, increased urination, and even agitation.

According to new results the tuberculosis vaccine bacillus Calmette-Guerin may fight off the proteins that kill beta cells and interfere with insulin production. Studies show that the tuberculosis vaccine triggers an increase in insulin production in 2 out of 3 patients. The tuberculosis vaccine is a less potent form of the commonly known disease, and helps to kill destructive cells in the immune system without affecting the healthy cells the body needs for protection.

Experiments are scheduled to be conducted to confirm this finding over the next several years. If successful, the tuberculosis vaccine could decrease side effects of type 1 diabetes, and diabetics may be able to enjoy lifestyle free of painful needles and syringes.