CommonHealth: Nearly 100-Year-Old Vaccine Could Help Type 1 Diabetics

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Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital are launching a big clinical trial that could open the door to a new treatment for Type 1 diabetes using a century-old vaccine.

In a preliminary trial, the generic vaccine bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) increased the prevalence of a hormone shown to control diabetes in humans and mice. BCG has been safely used to prevent tuberculosis and treat bladder cancer for over 90 years.

Now, the FDA has approved a trial of 150 adults age 18 to 60 with long-term Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease usually diagnosed in children and young adults.


Carey Goldberg, reporter and co-host of WBUR's CommonHealth blog and podcast The Checkup. She tweets @commonhealth.


CommonHealth: Mass. General Launches Trial of Old TB Vaccine For Type 1 Diabetes

  • "Type 1 diabetes, the auto-immune form that usually strikes young people, is big and getting bigger: as many as 3 million Americans may have it, and their numbers are growing quickly and mysteriously. So any promise of potential progress is a big deal, and it was splashy news back in 2012 when Dr. Denise Faustman, director of the Immunobiology Laboratory at the Massachusetts General Hospital, reported positive results for a test of a tuberculosis vaccine called BCG — Bacillus Calmette-Guerin — in a tiny trial of three longtime diabetes patients."

This segment aired on June 8, 2015.


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