Can BCG be Used to Control Lupus?

Patients suffering from Systemic Lupus Erythromatus (SLE) are at increased risk of opportunistic infections, especially Tuberculosis. Both these diseases are known to be intricately linked. Interestingly, it has recently been observed that infecting SLE patients with Mycobacterium tuberculosis resulted in decreased expression of biomarkers for SLE, indicating that TB is able to control lupus. However, the inflammatory biomarkers are known to get elevated in SLE patients suffering from opportunistic TB infection. In order to verify whether TB can be used to treat lupus, mouse models of lupus were treated with BCG vaccine, which contains live, but weakened Mycobacterium bovis. It was observed that BCG treatment reduced the kidney damage in these mice and enhanced their lifespan. Therefore, BCG can be used to control lupus in mice models, but it needs to be verified in human. Read More