In 2001 and again in 2003, Dr. Denise Faustman, a leading immunologist from Massachusets General Hospital, published findings that she and her research team had reversed type 1 diabetes in mice. The therapy she developed targeted and eliminated the T-cells that triggered the autoimmune destruction of the beta cells.
Once these T-cells were eliminated, the pancreatic beta cells were able to regenerate themselves to a healthy state without the aid of transplant or infusion. This last aspect — regeneration of islet cells — spawned a considerable amount of debate and disbelief in the diabetes research community.
However, in 2006 three different labs published findings that verified the findings of the earlier Faustman studies. Human trials of bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG), an agent that is similar in action to the substance used in the mouse studies, are scheduled to begin in 2008.