Will Scientists Ever Cure Diabetes in Our Lifetime?

Diabetes can be a nightmare for those who have it. After diagnosis, a person is forced to adapt to a lifetime of changed routines from diet to exercise to expectations. Diabetes means that blood sugar is out of control, and to get diabetes in control–you first need to determine how best to control blood sugar or glucose.

Type 1 diabetes means your body lacks the ability to produce insulin because the immune system has demolished cells in the pancreas crucial to the production process. If you have type 1 diabetes, you need insulin to survive.

Type 2 diabetes means your body produces insulin, but production and implementation is inefficient at best. This form is the most common overall, and the likelihood of diagnosis increases with age.

Massachusetts General Hospital recently released a new report that seems to show a cure for type 1 diabetes is on the horizon. Patients with type 1 diabetes in the study were provided a drug called Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (or BCG). This isn’t a newly developed drug. It is widely used to vaccinate individuals against tuberculosis. It’s cheap, generic, and easy to produce–and it might just be the answer to type 1 diabetes. Eight years after patients were treated, their glucose levels remained under control.

The drug itself works because it has a mutative effect on white blood cells, spurring them to process glucose the way insulin is supposed to. That means that the body would no longer require insulin to do the job.

Other clinical trials have occurred and provided promising results, but this is the first long-term study with long-term results. More trials are scheduled.

That leaves type 2 diabetes on the table. Is it possible to cure using the same treatment plan? Maybe not. The disease is often manageable by changing diet, and many promising medications already exist to help people cope with diabetes limitations. Doctors often prescribe metformin to lower blood glucose levels. How the drug works is up for debate. New international research by Vanderbilt University seems to shed light on the process by which metformin affects glucose levels, suggesting that more drugs might be developed and tested in the near future.

No matter what kind of diabetes with which you struggle, it seems that there is always a reason to hold out hope for a permanent cure. The question is: how long will we really have to wait?