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Question:

From Fall River, Wisconsin, USA:

Our 4 year old daughter was recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. I have read a little about a BCG study being done. I'm looking for more information on how this is going. She currently receives only 1 unit of NPH in the morning and that is all. Her blood glucose levels are pretty good now.

Answer:

This is an interesting story. Many years ago some material called 'old tuberculin', which was a nonspecific derivative of cultured tubercle bacilli, came to be extensively used as a general immunological stimulant in a variety of animal studies. Much more recently it was found that it prevented diabetes in the NOD mouse, a species in which nearly all the females and some of the males develop a type of diabetes that has many similarities to the Type 1 in man.

BCG is a much purified derivative of an attenuated form of tubercle bacilli which has been used as an effective vaccination against tuberculosis. Never popular for this purpose in the U.S. as tuberculosis in the young became much less common and as chemotherapy became available, it nonetheless seemed something to try as a means of prolonging the honeymoon period in children with Type 1 Diabetes. A good many previous attempts to bring this about had not succeeded. Nevertheless a number of projects were initiated in the U.S. and Europe and they too showed that BCG had no effect in modifying the course of autoimmune diabetes in new-onset cases in childhood.

DO'B

Original posting 8 Nov 97

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:54
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