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BCG vaccine and possible effect on Type 1 Diabetes

According to a report by Alexandra Thompson, Health Reporter for the MailOnline, “The BCG vaccines may be a solution to Type 1 diabetes, new research suggests. Three years after having the jabs, which protect against tuberculosis (TB), patients’ blood-sugar levels are near those of people without the condition, a US study found today. Previous research suggests BCG vaccines produce substances that prevent immune cells attacking the body’s tissues. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body launches an attack on the pancreas, preventing it from producing insulin. BCG vaccines may also increase glucose uptake by cells, causing blood-sugar levels to decrease, the research adds. The researchers, from the Massachusetts General Hospital, The findings were published in the journal npj Vaccines.

Dr Mihai Netea, from Radboud University, the Netherlands, who was not involved in the study, commented, “The effects and the proposed mechanism demonstrated are exciting and add to the emerging consensus that the BCG vaccine can have a lasting and valuable impact on the immune system.” He added that further research may lead to the prevention and treatment of both infections, like TB, and autoimmune conditions, such as Type 1 diabetes.

However, JDRF and the ADA (American Diabetes Association) have made a statement about this research, saying, “While this work has attracted attention, the study only followed a very small number of patients—nine people at the five-year time point, and three people at the eight-year time point—and must be interpreted with caution.”

Joint Statement from JDRF and the American Diabetes Association

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