Adjuvant therapy with bacille calmette-guérin (bcg) vaccine in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis

G. Ristori, M. Buzzi, U. Sabutini, E. Giugni, C. Buninelli, A. Perna, S. Cannoni, R. Bomprezzi, C. Pozzilli, M. Sulvetli

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Adjuvant therapy has long been used to prevent the development of experimental autoimmune disorders. It has had conflicting results in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. We applied the adjuvant approach to multiple sclerosis (MS), investigating the effect of bacille Calmette-Gue'rin (BCG) vaccine as an immunomodulator in patients with relapsing-remitting disease. An exploratory, single crossover, MRI-monitored trial was performed in 14 patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). Treatment efficacy was assessed by comparing MRI disease activity before and after treatment. Two patients dropped out for reasons unrelated to the study. We observed 9 clinical relapses before BCG and 3 after in the 12 remaining subjects. No adverse effects were reported except for a reaction at the inoculation site in two patients. After treatment, MRI activity was significantly reduced (5 I % and 57% reduction in gadolinium-enhancing and in active (new or enlarged) lesions respectively; (j> = 0.008 by Wilcoxon's signed rank test). Accordingly, the mean number of Gd-enhancing and active scans significantly decreased after BCG vaccine: 0.42% vs. 0.27% (p = 0.04) and 0.64% vs 0.37% (p = 0.02), respectively. Adjuvant therapy with BCG vaccine is safe and may be of use in MS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214
Number of pages1
JournalNeurological Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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