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Tubercle. 1990 Jun;71(2):87-93.

Immunotherapy with Mycobacterium vaccae as an adjunct to chemotherapy in the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis.

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  • 1Department of Medical Microbiology, School of Pathology, University College and Middlesex School of Medicine, London.


47 patients with adult-type pulmonary tuberculosis attending the Chest Diseases Hospital in Kuwait were given a single injection of 10(9) irradiation-killed M. vaccae after 1 month of a 9-month course of chemotherapy. The patients were followed-up for 3 more months in double blind comparison with 65 patients given an injection of saline (placebo). The immunotherapeutic injection produced a small local lesion in 44/47 patients, 18 of which ulcerated and produced small scars. Immunotherapy made no measurable difference to the bacteriological, biochemical, haematological, or radiological parameters measured. However it was associated with significantly improved weight gain, reduced size of skin test response to Tuberculin, increased lymphocyte proliferation to common mycobacterial antigens, and increased antibody levels to mycobacterial antigens. The changes in skin test and LTT responses were related and occurred in 29% of patients whose recognition of common mycobacterial antigens returned to normal. The remaining patients did not differ in these respects from those receiving placebo. The proportion of patients whose responses were improved was very similar to that achieved using the same immunotherapeutic agent in a group of treated multibacillary leprosy patients.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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