NOTE TO READERS: When this project lost substantial funding at the end of 2018, I lost the ability to continue publishing criteria-driven news story reviews and PR news release reviews - once the bread-and-butter of the site going back to 2006. The 3,200 archived reviews, while still educational, are getting old and difficult for me to technically maintain on the back end of the website. So I am announcing that I plan to remove these reviews from the site by April 1, 2021. The blog and the toolkit - two of the most popular features on the site - will remain. If you wish to peruse the reviews before they disappear, please do so by the end of March 2021. After that date you may still be able to access them via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine - https://archive.org/web/.

Bloomberg story talks about eliminating life-long insulin shots – after a study in 3 people !?!

Posted By

Tags

Bloomberg News is not one of the news organizations we review on a regular basis.

If we did, this story – “Diabetes May Be Reversed by Long-Used Vaccine for TB” – would not get a good score.

Troublesome:

  • “A tuberculosis vaccine in use for 90 years may help reverse Type 1 diabetes and eliminate the life- long need for insulin injections
  • “Results of the trial showed that two of the three patients given BCG had signs of renewed insulin production.”
  • There was no independent perspective.  Other stories had no trouble finding skeptical independent experts:
    • WebMD reported:  “One skeptic is Steven Wittlin, MD, professor of medicine and director of the diabetes service at the University of Rochester, N.Y.

      “We are always hoping for an immune cure for diabetes,” Wittlin tells WebMD. “But so far all the immune studies that looked promising in early human studies have failed in large-scale trials.”

      Wittlin notes that previous efforts to treat or prevent type 1 diabetes with BCG vaccine have failed.”

    • HealthDay reported: “But what happens after 20 weeks? How often would they need to give this vaccine? (asked Dr. Spyros Mezitis, an endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. )

      “I’m concerned about increasing the levels of TNF in the body,” he added. “They’re saying that only the insulin-secreting cells are affected, but what are the long-term effects if it’s given repeatedly? What about the growing cells in children, because if it works it would be used in children.”

    • Reuters reported: “Other diabetes researchers criticized it for going beyond the evidence in its claims about what caused the observed effects. … “There is a bit of magical thinking here,” said Dr. Domenico Accili of the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center at Columbia University Medical Center. The idea that BCG wipes out autoimmune cells “is totally unproved.”

You might also like

Comments (16)

Please note, comments are no longer published through this website. All previously made comments are still archived and available for viewing through select posts.

Skeptical

August 10, 2012 at 5:59 pm

Thank you. I would have loved to have read your analysis of the full text Gary Schwitzer. I have little to no confidence in this research. And it’s costing millions. http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0041756

Zman

August 11, 2012 at 2:34 am

It appears sir that this article was posted in many more sites than just Bloomberg. And the head researcher is far from some quack. I have read about her research throughout the last few years with great interest. Including her struggles with financing. It also appears in Italy and other places around the world they are coming up with similar results. I’m glad big pharma is staying away from this and it is being funded privately. Who would want a “cure” that is so cheap and easily accessible? Where’s the money in that?

    Gary Schwitzer

    August 13, 2012 at 10:25 am

    Zman,

    First, we wish all commenters would use their real name. We use ours. Why can’t we know who you are?

    Second, not sure what your point is about “this article was posted in many more sites than just Bloomberg.” We commented on a story written by and published by Bloomberg. We also showed how other news organizations did a better job.

    Third, just to be clear, we didn’t say anything about anyone being a “quack.” You used that term. We didn’t.

Zman

August 11, 2012 at 2:50 am

Also sir you should have put all of Dr. Wittlins comments rather than just take the parts you wanted to post, I especially enjoyed the part where he said “but the devil maybe in the details” Dr. Faustman hopes so too as do many others. Whether its successful or not I admire the fight. My 6yr old daughter and I appreciate all who are working towards finding a cure to type 1 diabetes.

David Evans

August 13, 2012 at 8:43 pm

I’m fed up with stories about medications or vaccines or devices eliminating life-long insulin shots. As a now-retired biochemist and a Type 1 Diabetic for four decades, I wish promoters of the “alternatives” would do statistically-valid studies of, e.g., BCG, or examine the long-term cost and inconvenience to the diabetic person. Three is not a statistically significant sample size, compared with the 200000 Type 1 diabetics just here in Australia (population 22 million). Surgically-implanted pumps failed fatally too often back in the 1980s. Ultrasonic “pills” that exude Insulin to the gut wall will not work nearly as reliably and consistently as subcutaneous injection any time soon, and cost $30 per single-use device (PR handout reproduced in New Scientist magazine, 23 June 2012, p 20). I’ve been doing pain-free injections 19 times out of 20 for 30 years now. Getting drops of blood to test Blood Glucose levels without pain or calluses on fingertips is a vastly higher priority for me.

Mike - Ohio

August 15, 2012 at 10:42 am

My take on this is very simple. There are 2 opinions on this topic, the one I share which is great hope and a firm belief in what Dr. Faustman is doing on the way to a cure. And that of those somehow tied into the Pharmacy industry. NO ONE in the Pharm industry wants this to succeed as there is absolutely NO money in it for them. Many people have been making tons of money off of us T1D and are doing, and will be doing, everything in their power to stop or hinder this research. Our numbers are strong and our fundraising will continue to help push the good Dr. through all the red tape that will surely be placed in front of her by the greed of our counterparts in the Pharm industry.
-“Money over lives” will not win this battle

    Gary Schwitzer

    August 16, 2012 at 10:15 am

    Mike,

    Thanks for your note.

    Let me me emphasize that my original post was about the quality of journalism involved.

    Whether it’s a story about diabetes or heart disease or cancer or Alzheimer’s disease, if the story includes predictions of seismic change after results in just two people while including no independent expert perspective, we’re going to criticize it.

Mike - Ohio

August 15, 2012 at 10:42 am

My take on this is very simple. There are 2 opinions on this topic, the one I share which is great hope and a firm belief in what Dr. Faustman is doing on the way to a cure. And that of those somehow tied into the Pharmacy industry. NO ONE in the Pharm industry wants this to succeed as there is absolutely NO money in it for them. Many people have been making tons of money off of us T1D and are doing, and will be doing, everything in their power to stop or hinder this research. Our numbers are strong and our fundraising will continue to help push the good Dr. through all the red tape that will surely be placed in front of her by the greed of our counterparts in the Pharm industry.
-“Money over lives” will not win this battle

Zman

August 16, 2012 at 3:13 pm

First and foremost Mr. Schwitzer, I would like to apologize for my remarks. It was another very late night of trying to get my 6 year old daughters levels back up. It just wasn’t happening, and for some reason the skeptical post after your story hit a nerve. I do applaud you for pointing out the one sidedness of the article. My name is Ray Zamora Jr. (zmaninc04@hotmail.com) and my daughter Juliana has been a type 1 diabetic for nearly 3 years now. I am not naive enough to believe it is a cure. At best if bcg is successful in larger studies and the raised TNF levels are safe for people, it would only be a treatment and not a cure. But it would bring some normality back into my daughters life. Maybe even be able to enjoy her childhood a little. She’s had to grow up way to early as have so many other children. We have cured thousands of mice from T1 diabetes and every time the scientists speak about it. The same phrase always comes out and it’s along the lines of “this is still very many years away from even being considered for people.” if it were something like H1N1, The government would have intervened no matter what the cost. And as much as I hate to say it “big pharma” can see those cases rising and can count on each one those diagnosed to be they’re own ATM machine for that persons lifetime. Personally though, if one of those companies were to come up with a cure. I would buy pretty much anything they offer because that companies name would be a gold standard, for they would have come up with a cure for a terrible disease. You couldn’t get any better advertising than that. To be able to say we cured T1 diabetes. Once again sir, my apologies. Im just a tired dad who wants nothing more than for all of those affected by type 1 diabetes to be rid of it.