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Massachusetts General Hospital, Iacocca Foundation announce promising results of Phase I diabetes trial
Date:6/25/2011

cipants with diabetes were also compared with samples from six nondiabetic participants and with reference samples from 75 additional individuals with diabetes and 15 without. Four measurements were analyzed for each sample levels of autoreactive T cells; levels of the regulatory T cells that help control the immune response; levels of GAD autoantibodies, which are a marker of pancreas activity; and levels of C-peptide, a marker of insulin secretion.

Most participants treated with BCG showed increases in both the death of autoreactive T cells and in levels of the protective regulatory T cells. A temporary but statistically significant elevation in C-peptide levels, suggesting a restoration of insulin production, was also observed in the BCG-treated patients. Unexpectedly, the same responses were seen in one of the placebo-treated patients who, after enrolling in the study, coincidently developed infection with the Epstein-Barr virus, which is known to induce expression of TNF.

"These data support our hypothesis that BCG may benefit human type 1 diabetes by boosting TNF levels," says Faustman. "The data from the EBV-infected patient show that induction of TNF expression from diverse sources may have been a missing component in two recent, unsuccessful Phase III trials that tested antibodies against the immune molecule CD3 in type 1 diabetes patients. Those trials were specifically designed to avoid reactivating any latent EBV infection, but blocking EBV activation could also block TNF expression."

In addition to providing major funding for the now-completed Phase I trial, the Iacocca Foundation has committed to a leadership role in the Phase II clinical trial that was initiated at MGH earlier this month. Currently $8.5 million has been raised out of a total of $25 million needed to conduct the Phase II study over the next three years. Additional information about the clinical trial, including information for potential supporters,
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Contact: Sue McGreevey
smcgreevey@partners.org
617-724-2764
Massachusetts General Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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