Faustman Labs…the little lab that just might!

My first post was written about me and living with Diabetes. In the post I spoke, briefly, about Faustman Labs, a laboratory which is a part of the world renowned Massachusettes General Hospital network. What I have not related to you is the story of how I discovered Faustman and became a candidate for the clinical trials that may start as early as July 2015.

It was winter of 2010, I was searching through the CNN website for anything to read that would be of interest to me. I noticed on the website the headline stating (and I am paraprasing here) “Potential cure/treatment discovered in an old drug for Type 1 Diabetics discovered.” Ummm, what? Needless to say it caught my attention almost immediately I thought, “yeah right some quack has found this miracle pill that will cure cancer, lose weight, make you look 30 years younger, and cure diabetes.” (Insert the appropriate eyeroll!)

But as I began to read the article, I was blown away by what I read. There was a Doctor in Boston who had just finished the phase I clinical trial for a drug called bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), a drug that has been around for 80 years and was used, primarily in Europe, to treat tuberculosis. The first round of human clinical trials had just ended and the results were astonishing and hopeful. Evidently BCG, when injected in large quanities stimulates the bodies immune system to attack the bad T-cells responsible for killing the Islet cells on the pancreas, leaving a healthy immune system (huge yay) and (even bigger yay) allowing the pancreas to regenerate new islet cells restoring some function back to the pancreas in its ability to produce insulin. You can read the rest by visiting Faustman Labs website at http://www.faustmanlab.org. The article went on to say Dr. Faustman was initiating protocol to begin phase II of the clinical trials to test larger amounts of BCG in type I diabetics who have had the disease for a long period of time, 15-20 years.

I immediately called Faustman Lab to see if I could participate in any of the trials. I expected to have to leave a voicemail or be put on a waiting list knowing how huge the MGH network is. So I dialed the number provided in the article and the head lab tech, Nick, answered the phone. I was shocked, how did I get a hold of the actual lab? As I introduced myself and explained who I was and why I was calling, Nick put me on hold. The next voice I heard was Denise Faustman’s. I could not believe this, the actual doctor who was running the protocols was on the phone with me. I envisioned this huge, sterile, all white laboratory with 50-75 people looking into microscopes, testing on white mice…you know all the stereotypical views of laboratories. After a few minutes of questions and answers, I got to the reason I was calling. How could I be involved, what could I be doing now to be a part of this trial? Denise stated it would be a long process of getting FDA approval for the phase II trials and a lot of money to raise to run the trial, $25 million to be exact. Denise did state the lab was looking for type I diabetics who had the disease for a least 15 years but not more than 20 years to come to Boston and donate blood for the current research they were conducting, more on the findings of this research later. Since I qualified I wanted to be her lab rat so Nick and I scheduled my first trip to Boston. I am providing the FDA link here for you. If you are interested, you can track the progress of the trial: 

https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02081326?term=Phase+II+clinical+trials+for+type+I+diabetes+using+BCG&rank=1

I was absolutely ecstatic, this was the first time I had heard there might be a non invasive way to cure diabetes that had nothing to do with immuno suppressant drugs and surgery.  Could it be? Do I dare hope? What would I face?  My next post will be about my first trip to Boston and meeting the crew at Faustman lab.

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