Type 1 diabetes may be caused by faulty versions of two genes that usually help the body to fight infection.
Scientist identified them as faulty variants of HLA-A and HLA-B which lead the immune system to destroy insulin-producing islet cells in the pancreas. Usually, the two genes are the components of MHC1 – a protein on the surface of immune cells that helps them tell friend from foe.
Sure enough, the research team found that the class of immune cells that attacks islet cells were those activated by MHC1 (HLA-A and B).
Tuberculosis vaccine shows promise in controlling blood sugar. A long-used vaccine is showing promise in helping to restore near-normal blood sugar levels in people with advanced type 1 diabetes. Harvard researchers discovered this in a bench work where adults who had type 1 diabetes were treated with two doses of the bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine, which is traditionally used to prevent tuberculosis. They all showed significant improvements in their average blood sugar levels after the vaccination. The improvements lasted for the next five years. Researchers said that it appears the vaccine affected a metabolic mechanism that increases consumption of glucose by cells.
This particular vaccine, BCG is already known to be beneficial in boosting immune against Tuberculosis and also stimulate the production of a substance in the body that helps to disable immune cell attacks on healthy tissues, which occur in individuals with autoimmune disorders, such as type 1 diabetes. This is the basis for its ability to manage the disease.
Although, Further studies are to be done to confirm the results and to explore the possibility of using the vaccine to treat people with type 2 diabetes as well, which is way more common.
This is a research under watch
Rotavirus vaccine may protect children from developing type 1 diabetes.
In Australia, the vaccine for rotavirus – the most common cause of severe diarrhoea in young children – was added to routine early-childhood immunizations in 2007.
Some scientists compared the rates of diabetes in the 8 years before and after the introduction of the rotavirus vaccine. They found a 14 per cent drop in type 1 diabetes in children age 0 to 4, but no change in children 5 to 14 years old. This is likely because the children in the study under age 5 were born after the introduction of the vaccine, which must be given before exposure to the virus to have any protective effect.
Rotavirus infects pancreas cells by hijacking a natural receptor on their surface, which leads to cell death. The vaccine stops this process in insulin-producing cells, which may be why it is effective against diabetes as well.
Harvard Medical School
JAMA Pediatrics, DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.4578