BCG Vaccine to Cure Type 1 Diabetes

BCG vaccine for Type 1 Diabetes

BCG vaccine (Bacillus Calmette-Guerin) is widely used to prevent miliary and meningeal tuberculosis in developing countries where tuberculosis is endemic.

BCG vaccine is developed from the non-virulent mycobacterium Bovis. According to the WHO, the BCG vaccine is recommended at birth in countries where tuberculosis is endemic.

It is administered intradermally into the skin above the deltoid muscles (upper arms) where it leaves a scar. BCG scar is a sign of previous vaccination.

Apart from its use in preventing a person from developing a severe form of tuberculosis (meningeal or miliary), the BCG vaccine is also used to treat bladder cancer.

It is administered directly into the bladder via a catheter where it incites an immune response against the cancer cells.

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The role of BCG vaccine in patients with Type 1 Diabetes:

BCG vaccine provokes an immune response when administered. It modulates T-cell-mediated inflammatory pathways which play a key role in the pathophysiology of Type 1 diabetes mellitus.

This effect was studied to either delay or prevent Type 1 diabetes in children based on the hypothesis that the BCG vaccine modulates the immune mechanism.

In one retrospective study, 196 schoolchildren who were vaccinated at the age of 9 years with a BCG vaccine were enrolled in the study.

In children who developed Type 1 Diabetes, it was observed that vaccinated children developed Type 1 diabetes about 2.5 years later than those who were not vaccinated.

The study concluded that a single dose of the BCG vaccine at the age of 9 years may delay the onset of Type 1 diabetes. It was suggested by the authors that the effect of multiple doses of BCG vaccines should be investigated [Ref].

In one meta-analysis that evaluated four different studies, it was found that the BCG vaccine has no significant effects on fasting C-peptide levels or HbA1C levels.

Although a trend towards better A1C was observed in the vaccinated group, their results were not significant [Ref]

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In conclusion:

BCG vaccine does not cure or delay Type 1 Diabetes. Data in this regard is very limited, especially in humans.

What do you think?

Written by Dr. Ahmed

I am Dr. Ahmed (MBBS; FCPS Medicine), an Internist and a practicing physician. I am in the medical field for over fifteen years working in one of the busiest hospitals and writing medical posts for over 5 years.

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