TB Vaccine: Wonder Drug for Diabetes and More?

Orlando, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Tuberculosis is the worlds’ leading infectious cause of death. BCG is a vaccine given to infants and children in countries where TB is common. Now recent reports are revealing it’s helping more than just these vaccinated children!

“It’s estimated about a third of the global population is infected with tuberculosis,” said Kyle Rohde, PhD, an assistant professor at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

This is why, for over 100 years, the vaccine BCG has been used to prevent it from spreading further. But now, researchers are finding it’s useful for treating more. It’s been linked to better control of insulin levels for type one diabetics. One long term study discovered patients with type one who received the BCG vaccine saw their long-term average blood sugar levels drop significantly for at least five years!

And that’s not all. It’s also used as immunotherapy for treating early stages of bladder cancer. The body’s immune system cells are attracted to the bladder and activated by the vaccine, which in turn affects the bladder cancer cells.

Finally, researchers are getting ready to conduct a clinical trial using BCG for fibromyalgia patients. The investigators hypothesize that multiple doses of the vaccine will increase the amount of immune signal molecules in the body. The result? Reducing the severe symptoms of fibromyalgia.

The fibromyalgia clinical trial is being conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital and is not yet recruiting. It is set to begin in January of 2019. You can find more information on this study at www.clinicaltrials.gov.

Contributors to this news report include: Gabriella Battistiol, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.

BACKGROUND: Tuberculosis is a contagious infection that usually attacks the lungs, but can also spread to other parts of the body like the brain and spine. It is caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It was the leading cause of death in the U.S. in the 20 th century. It is spread through the air, just like a cold or the flu. If an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, laughs, or sings, tiny droplets that contain the germs get released. If a person breathes in these germs, he or she gets infected. TB is contagious, but not easy to catch because the germs grow slowly. TB germs don’t thrive on surfaces, so you can’t get the disease by shaking hands with an infected person or sharing their food or drink. A person typically must spend a lot of time around another infected person to catch it, which is why it’s often spread among co-workers, friends, and family. Getting infected also doesn’t mean you’ll get sick. A person can have latent TB, in which the germs are in their body, but his or her immune system stops them from spreading. This person won’t have symptoms and won’t be contagious, but the infection is alive in the body and can become active one day. 90% of adult cases of active TB are from reactivation of a latent TB infection. If a person is at high risk for re-activating the infection, a doctor can prescribe antibiotics to lower the risk for developing active TB. (Source: https://www.webmd.com/lung/understanding-tuberculosis-basics#1 )

SIGNS, SYMPTOMS, AND TREATMENT: Signs of active TB include a cough that lasts more than three weeks, chest pain, coughing up blood, feeling tired all the time, night sweats, chills, fever, loss of appetite, and weight loss. There are no symptoms of latent TB. A person will need a skin or blood test to find out if he or she is infected. A healthy immune system fights TB bacteria, but some conditions and treatments will make people susceptible. These include HIV or AIDS, diabetes, severe kidney disease, head and neck cancers, cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, low body weight and malnutrition, medications for organ transplants, and certain drugs that treat rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and psoriasis. Babies and young children are also at greater risk because their immune systems haven’t fully formed. TB is almost always curable with proper treatment. Doctors prescribe antibiotics that must be taken for six to nine months in order to kill the bacteria that cause TB. Sometimes patients have a drug-resistant form of TB, requiring them to take stronger medications for longer. It’s important to take every dose of antibiotics even if the patient feels better before the end. If all the bacteria aren’t killed, the remaining germs can adapt and become drug-resistant. (Source: https://www.webmd.com/lung/understanding-tuberculosis-treatment#1 )

NEW ANTIBIOTIC TREATMENT: According to an international team of researchers, a naturally occurring antibiotic called kanglemycin A is effective against the bacteria that cause TB, even in drug-resistant strains. This compound is related to the antibiotic rifampicin, which is commonly used to treat TB. Rifampicin functions by binding to bacterial RNA polymerase, the enzyme responsible for RNA production, and prevents it from making more RNA. However, many strains of the TB causing bacteria have developed resistance to it, extending treatment time from six months to two years. 600,000 people every year are diagnosed with rifampicin-resistant TB, and the team’s findings with kanglemycin A is the first step in developing a new drug for the treatment of these patients. (Source: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180920160859.htm )