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BCG Vaccination Given After Onset of Type 1 Diabetes Not Helpful

BCG is an attenuated form of the tubercule bacillus that at one time was used extensively in Europe as a form of vaccination against primary tuberculosis. A crude derivative of cultures of tubercule bacilli called Froin's adjuvant, long recognised as a non-specific stimulant of the immune system, was recently shown to partially prevent the onset of diabetes in the NOD mouse. These experiments were repeated with BCG and again shown to have a limited effect in preventing diabetes. Since BCG, a form of tuberculin, had long been considered safe for vaccination in humans, it was logical to see if it would modify the progress of new onset Type 1 diabetes.

The results of two randomised trials, one in the U.S. (N=44) and one in Italy (n=74), were recently presented in abstract form. In neither of these studies, over 24 and 12 months respectively, were any differences noted in insulin dose, A1c, or basal C-peptide levels. One hour C-peptide levels were also equal in the control and test groups in the U.S. study, and there were no changes in autoantibody levels. In the Italian study, the addition of nicotinamide to control and test groups had no effect on BCG action. It was concluded that BCG vaccination given after the onset of insulin dependance does not significantly affect the course of the disease.

Information provided by Dr. Donough O'Brien of the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes.

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Last Updated: Thursday February 27, 2014 19:28:21
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