BCG vaccine completes phase 2 trials for T1n

Ive been intrigued by this research for some time… wouldn’t this be amazing if it works…


Trying to figure out if it is Bunk.

Think about how many other areas something amazing held on year after year after year only to finally be shot down as a fraud. The skeptic in me won’t shut up about this one. Maybe it is real. But it has all the hallmarks of a scam.

Sorry I am not RAH RAH RAH.

It is clearly not a scam: you can read all the science behind it if you do some searching. But whether or not it will work – that’s another matter. It’s conceptually possible that it could work on humans. Imho, before we get excited about it, it will need to be much further ahead.

Fleischmann and Pons
Bernie Madoff
Elizabeth Holmes

There is no shortage. This has certain elements that strike familiar chords.

I like the fact that we should all be skeptical!

That said, these are very different categories:

  • Fleischman, Pons and Jones: punlished researched. They are now (since 2006) fairly well recognized as misinterpreted but not fake science. See (1) and (2):

(1) Widom, Allan, and Lewis Larsen. “Ultra low momentum neutron catalyzed nuclear reactions on metallic hydride surfaces.” The European Physical Journal C-Particles and Fields 46.1 (2006): 107-111.

(2) Srivastava, Y. N., A. Widom, and L. Larsen. “A primer for electroweak induced low-energy nuclear reactions.” Low Energy Nuclear Reactions and New Energy Technologies Sourcebook, ed. S. Krivit and J. Marwan, American Chemical Society, Oxford University Press, Washington, DC 2 (2010).

  • Maddoff: scam, tried and found guilty, nothing published

  • Holmes: probably scam, no trial, nothing published.

The big difference between these classes is: are there peer-reviewed scientific papers, and have the papers been banged around enough to be validated? The two scams or likely scams you list have no publications. The other one does, and is not a scam, although clearly not what it claimed to be, but, rather, likely a different scientific phenomenon.

For the BCG work, nobody is contesting the original science. The big question is – will it work with diabetes on humans? I think nobody knows, and, given the progress of “the cure,” the likelihood is very low. But calling it a scam implies that there is fraud going on for monetary purposes: Before making such a heavy accusation against well-known scientific teams, I think we need a fairly high standard of proof.

My approach is perhaps diametrically opposed. I require a very high standard of proof to believe a scientific breakthrough.

I am not saying this is a scam. I am saying it has many hallmarks that lead me to be extremely skeptical.

Perhaps in 10 years there will be substantially more evidence in one direction or the other.

It’s certainly not a scam it’s a long standing study being done by Massachusetts General Hospital’s immunology department… it may turn out to be a dead end, but that doesn’t make it a scam

I do find it rather infuriating that it takes so long to research such a simple question: does bcg have effect of reducing mechanisms of type 1 diabetes in humans? Gee however could we find out… perhaps we could inject bcg into type 1 diabetic humans and see what happens (just like has been safely injected into humans for 100 years) I realize it’s a little more complicated than that but it’s silly in my mind for simple questions to take science decades to even gather evidence

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… it may turn out to be a dead end, but that doesn’t make it a scam

well, it is certainly not a scam in the traditional sense but the way this researcher is hyping the work certainly has whiffs of ickiness about it. I get that she is doing so for political reasons (to get the trials funded and possibly because she believes in her own hype). Let’s call it being not quite cautious enough and allowing false hope to flourish? Which has drawbacks of its own.

The thing is, the phase I data were not impressive at all, really not distinctive as compared to other potential D-cures out there. And we all know that mice and rats have had their T1D cured several times over – so if the lab’s being led to these hyperbolic statements by animal data or in vitro work, that is also problematic.

I think it’s extremely unlikely to work (at least, in enough people to demonstrate a meaningful effect). But certainly I don’t oppose human trials going forward to prove that point as the vaccine is perfectly safe.

Of course, the sticky political issue is that if something seems like a long-shot, other entities typically don’t put in the research funding to test it out in fairly large Phase II trials (150 people double blinded when it comes to T1D is no small thing!). So by hyping this study and going out on a limb in a way other researchers are unwilling to do, the lab can push forward the research.

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Update: June 2018. Sounds very promising to me at least…

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Not to be overly skeptical here, but this research has been viewed with a healthy dose of side-eye from other researchers…I would want to know, for instance, what they mean by near-normal? Did any of these people go on CGMS halfway through their study? What was the blinding? What were the controls?

And why is the only outlet covering this some crappy TV news station?

Not to be a downer, but I’d love to actually see a peer-reviewed paper on this before we draw any conclusions.


Ditto. But I’m still optimistic!!! :smiley:

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I have played the “cure is only a few years away” game since…well, since I was 5 years old!

To me it feels like a prisoner who goes every year for a parole hearing, even though he has no chance and will never get out on parole, versus a prisoner who has a life-sentence and does not have parole hearings. They will both be there the same amount of time, but the lifer who doesn’t go to the parole hearings is better adjusted to it. He doesn’t get his hopes up.

So that’s my perspective. I am a lifer. But that is okay, because I run my cell-block, and in fact, I run the entire prison.

But you younger ones have a better chance because you have many more years left than I do.

So everyone just do me a favor. Let me know there is a cure the day after it comes out, not when it’s “a few years away”. :wink:


I just took a look at that news article and was thinking maybe I’d have to read the real paper, until I saw the last line “Faustman also said researchers believe the drug could play a role in Type 2 diabetes treatment, although those studies are not yet set up.” I thought she was pursuing an approach to halt the autoimmune attack on beta cells. Type 2 ?? That completely looks like trolling for funding because it makes no sense.

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God damnit people! Stop raining on my parade!



I think it warrants some optimism. She’s a legit researcher at a legit and prestigious hospital who’s made it through several rounds of clinical trials. It’s not like she’s some goober “experimenting” on rats with a hacksaw in mom’s basement… will it be a whole or partial solution? Who knows… will it lead to a different and unexpected turning point in the understanding of the situation and lead it down a completely different path? Who knows?

Does my life or happiness depend on the outcome of her research, no. That doesn’t mean it has no potential to benefit the world though… I wish her and her team the best of luck and hope they encounter the minimum amount possible of obstacles in their quest for truth and understanding, wherever that path leads them…


I believe increasingly they think there may be autoimmune components at play for T2 or at least some forms of T2 as well.


Thank you @Sam!!!

And this is complete anecdata, but my two close friends with very strong family histories of T2 and early evidence of prediabetes in their 30s/40s (despite generally healthy lifestyles/normal weight) also have both autoimmune dysfunction/disorders themselves and co-occurrence of auto-immune disorders with that family history of T2.


So I read a better writeup at The Sweet Life. Anyways, what it seems is that a) the average A1C dropped from 7:3 in the control arm to 6.65 in the treatment arm after 5 years. Every single person is still taking insulin, though about 1/3 less. The study was small, only 9 people, although there are 111 others who are on this protocol. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a statistical artifact and for sure this is not a cure. Although if I could reduce my son’s insulin use by 33% and also lower his A1C with two shots of a harmless vaccine that costs $1 over a year or two, I would certainly do it.

In mice, they notice that BCG increases the levels of TNF (tumor necrosis factor), but the new finding seems to be that somehow this vaccine is increasing the intracellular uptake of glucose from the blood. Or at least in mice; I’m not sure they proved that in the humans. The study is published in a Nature journal, but one I’ve never heard of:npj Vaccines.. Nature is a good peer-reviewed journal but I’ve never heard of this one, so it may have lower publication standards. In any case, Nature didn’t see fit to publish this in their most high-profile journal, which tells you something.

Some better writeups.


Thanks for the summary and the link @TiaG

Your description sounds realistic while the news articles I read were …how shall we say… overly optimistic.