How many of you have heard of the Islet Sheet Project? I hadn’t since today when seeing a post about a documentary called “Patient 13”. I think I must have been living under a rock these past 10 years not to have known about this (how many times have I said this over the years I've been blogging?)!
Scott King, scientist, entrepreneur, and person living with type 1 diabetes since 1977, has been working for close to 30 years on this project along with other team members at Hanuman Medical Foundation. He is currently in the documentary called “Patient 13” as the project enters into the next phase of animal testing. Hopefully if all goes well, within 2013 he will be the “rat” for the human trial at that point.
Seriously though, the scientific info for you Big Bang Theory geeks out there is that the sheet is about the size of a business card, holding a layer of human islets that are encased in a membrane of ultra-pure alginate (in layman terms – seaweed – you know the stuff from the oceans that washes up all the time on the beach?). It is made stronger with mesh along with a coating on the surface to stop contact between the cells inside and your immune system that would attack the cells and destroy them. Oxygen, glucose, and other nutrients go through this sheet, keeping the islets within alive; and insulin, hormones, waste products go out. It can be removed or replaced at any time and no immune suppression drugs are needed (like the Edmonton Protocol) – except in the initial stage of the “transplantation”.
The October 2012 edition of the Diabetes Voice magazine from IDF (International Diabetes Federation) gives you the inside story of this project that was started 18 months ago by Lisa Hepner (a T1D diabetic herself for 20 years and Canadian – whoot!whoot! to boot) and her husband Guy Mossman after they met up with Scott King and his “team” over a casual meal in LA.
Boy oh boy – wonder if they need a “Patient 14”? Pick me, pick me!!! I mean, this is as close to a CURE as I’ll ever see in my lifetime, having lived with diabetes almost 50 years!
This film will not sugar coat the reality of life with diabetes ~ Lisa Hepner