J. Bart Classen

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John Barthelow Classen is an American immunologist and anti-vaccinationist. He received his M.D. from the University of Maryland, Baltimore in 1988, his M.B.A. from Columbia University in 1992 and obtained his medical license in October 1997.[1][2] He is best known for publishing research concluding that vaccines, in particular the Hib vaccine, cause insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus,[3] a hypothesis he proposed based on experiments he conducted on mice in 1996.[4] His views are disputed and considered unverified.

Anti-vaccination views[edit]

Classen proposes that vaccines cause diabetes by causing the release of interferons, causing an autoimmune state leading to immune-mediated type 1 diabetes,[5] and he is quoted on many anti-vaccine websites, such as that of the National Vaccine Information Center. His work has been criticized by some, such as Amy Wallace, who wrote that the vaccine-diabetes link "...relies on the flawed work of one doctor [Classen], who gathered data on a slew of vaccines and failed to follow standard study protocols. No other study — including those using the same data — could reproduce the results."[6] Studies that have investigated the potential link between vaccines and diabetes include one, published by Frank DeStefano, which "did not find an increased risk of type 1 diabetes associated with any of the routinely recommended childhood vaccines."[7] DeStefano et al. also noted that another study of over 100,000 children examined the potential connection between Hib vaccines and diabetes and found no association between the two.[8] Similarly, the Australian National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance examined Classen's studies and wrote that "Other researchers who have studied the issue have not verified Dr Classen’s findings."[9]

The American Council on Science and Health's Gilbert Ross has said the following of Classen's claims of a link between vaccines, autism, and immune-related diseases:

"These assertions have absolutely no basis in scientific fact. The link between vaccines and autism has been debunked multiple times since it was first proposed by Wakefield, and the bottom line is that there was never any link between vaccines and autism. We urge the public to stop listening to the ideas promoted by the anti-vaccine movement and do what is best for public health, which is to get vaccinated."[10]


Classen holds a number of patents, specifically regarding "the act of reading the published scientific literature and using it to create vaccination schedules that minimize immune disorders," and has sued four biotechnology companies over allegedly infringing on them. While a district court had found that Classen's idea was too abstract to be patented, he appealed the case and the appeals court found otherwise.[11]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Classen, J. B.; Mergner, W. J.; Costa, M. (1989). "ATP hydrolysis by ischemic Mitochondria". Journal of Cellular Physiology. 141 (1): 53–59. doi:10.1002/jcp.1041410109. PMID 2777902.
  • Classen, J. B.; Shevach, E. M. (1991). "Evidence that cyclosporine treatment during pregnancy predisposes offspring to develop autoantibodies". Transplantation. 51 (5): 1052–1057. doi:10.1097/00007890-199105000-00024. PMID 1903221.
  • Classen, J. B.; Shevach, E. M. (1993). "Post-thymectomy organ-specific autoimmunity: Enhancement by cyclosporine a and inhibition by IL-2". Autoimmunity. 15 (1): 55–59. doi:10.3109/08916939309004839. PMID 8218831.


  1. ^ Lon Morgan. "John B. Classen". Fearmongers. Retrieved 2013-10-19.
  2. ^ "Classen Immunotherapies". Vaccines.net. 2011-08-31. Retrieved 2013-10-19.
  3. ^ Classen, J. B.; Classen, D. C. (2002). "Clustering of cases of insulin dependent diabetes (IDDM) occurring three years after hemophilus influenza B (HiB) immunization support causal relationship between immunization and IDDM". Autoimmunity. 35 (4): 247–253. doi:10.1080/08916930290028175. PMID 12482192.
  4. ^ Classen, J. B. (1996). "The timing of immunization affects the development of diabetes in rodents". Autoimmunity. 24 (3): 137–145. doi:10.3109/08916939608995359. PMID 9020406.
  5. ^ Neustaedter, Randall (1996). The Vaccine Guide: Risks and Benefits for Children and Adults. North Atlantic Books. p. 56.
  6. ^ Wallace, Amy (19 October 2009). "How to Win an Argument About Vaccines". Wired. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  7. ^ Destefano, F.; Mullooly, J. P.; Okoro, C. A.; Chen, R. T.; Marcy, S. M.; Ward, J. I.; Vadheim, C. M.; Black, S. B.; Shinefield, H. R.; Davis, R. L.; Bohlke, K.; Vaccine Safety Datalink, T. (2001). "Childhood Vaccinations, Vaccination Timing, and Risk of Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus". Pediatrics. 108 (6): e112. doi:10.1542/peds.108.6.e112. PMID 11731639.
  8. ^ Karvonen, M.; Cepaitis, Z.; Tuomilehto, J. (1999). "Association between type 1 diabetes and Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccination: Birth cohort study". BMJ. 318 (7192): 1169–1172. doi:10.1136/bmj.318.7192.1169. PMC 27850. PMID 10221937.
  9. ^ "Diabetes and vaccines" (PDF). Fact Sheet. National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance. January 2007. Retrieved 2013-10-19.
  10. ^ Staff (15 May 2014). "The Anti-Vaccine Movement Gains Traction, Ignoring The Science". Acsh.org.
  11. ^ Hayden, Erika Check (28 September 2011). "'Patent trolls' target biotechnology firms". Nature News. Nature. Retrieved 19 October 2013.