Are the Faustman Lab claims vaporware?

Every once in a while the “potential cure” gets mentioned in online diabetes communities. I was surprised the topic hasn’t come up here.

Faustman claims that a simple tuberculosis vaccine, BCG, has showed promising results as a potential reversal of late-stage T1D. Since the vaccine cannot be patented, Faustman claims she must raise funds from the public for further trials after which the drug will cost pennies.

Seems too good to be true. On the other hand, I’d hate for this to be delayed if it actually has potential. Does anyone here have the skills to check the technical details of the Faustman Lab work, or find out what the academic community thinks of it?

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The physician you referenced is credible, she works at a very well respected research hospital, and the study she references looks valid.

The only problem, is that she is clearly having trouble getting funding from the NIH and other foundations who would normally fund such research if a company wasn’t helping.

Additionally, the paper she cites is just a proof of concept in 6 people. My thought is that if the results were really positive people would have jumped on the bandwagon in 2012. I don’t like the claim of fund raising or the prediction of drug cost. That isn’t really helpful in my opinion.

Link to paper.

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It is being discussed a lot, and most of the information can be found with a web search. They are currently running a Phase 2 Trial with 150 patients, and supposedly it is almost fully enrolled. More info can be found here:

Well, I was always taught that if something sounded too good to be true, it probably is. I am skeptical of most “potential cures” since I have been hearing about them for years. But I have no scientific basis to doubt the research.


I’ve read all of her papers (or at least most of them). The early ones were on mice (rats?) and seemed somewhat promising. Her mouse work was replicated (and simplified) by other researchers, so I think that is valid. But as we all know there is a big difference between curing the T1 analogue studied in mice and curing real T1 in humans, and lots of things don’t pan out in humans. I fear that will be the case here, in large part because the BCG has been used for decades for other purposes (TB vaccine) but has not shown any tendency to cure or even help T1 in humans. Also I’m pretty sure it was one of the substances tested that showed no effect as part of TrialNet. Her remaining argument is that the timing and dosage is critical, and that maybe she can find the correct timing and dosage, but personally I think that is a long shot.

Her results with humans I did not find too promising due to tiny sample size and very small measured effect. I wish her success, but personally I am skeptical that she will be successful.


I have heard several scientists I respect speak to her with praise—as a researcher. This does not mean that her research will pan out. But I don’t think it is vaporware. I do think it’s a long shot, though.

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Thanks for your inputs. I’m feeling more confident that this idea deserves to be investigated further. Even if it’s not a cure, something that changes the balance between the immune system and beta cells might help us understand autoimmunity better.