I'm not much of one for explosive headlines, but this one I found interesting.
Read it all, but here's the good part...
BCG's latest feat, though, is perhaps its most unexpected. Several years ago, Harvard professor Denise Faustman showed that BCG could be used to treat diabetes in mice. She demonstrated that the vaccine helped mice to produce a protein which kills off T-cells, which are responsible for type 1 diabetes. With bated breath, the scientific community waited while the same experiments were replicated in humans. What was at stake? A positive finding could mean that diabetes patients no longer had to inject themselves with insulin.
Four years later, Fausmtan and her colleagues have published results from a very small-scale trial in PLoS One. Their work is limited and caveat-laden—the study looked at three patients for just 20 weeks—but the researchers observed the same protein production and T-cell death as they saw in mice. While it's not quite time for diabetes sufferers to pop the champagne corks and stop injecting insulin just yet, it's certainly a major finding that promises a great deal.
Perplexingly, we don't even really know quite what makes BCG so successful. There are hypotheses that suggest that it activates a protein called the "tumor necrosis factor-alpha"—and the diabetes study lends some weight to that idea—but the research community isn't 100 percent sure yet. Put simply, though it seems to be helpful across many conditions, we don't yet know exactly why.