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Islet Cells Generation - Cure? I Think Not!

Doris' Blog
By: dorisjdickson

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Islet Cells Generation - Cure? I Think Not! - Oct 01
This article in Diabetes Health discusses yet another new potential "cure."  However, yet again, it requires immunosuppressants which are not an option to me.  ...
Cholesterol Conundrum - Sep 21
I recently wrote about Red Yeast Rice as an alternative to statins and the fact that it actually IS a statin since they contain the same active ingredients.  You just ...
Red Yeast Rice - It is a Statin - Do I Take It? - Sep 10
I receive Dr. Mercola's newsletter regularly.  I don't, however, regularly read it.  My concern is the amount of "stuff" sold on the website.  However, this ...
Diabetic ketoacidosis at onset of type 1 diabetes remains frequent in children - Sep 08
This article in yesterday's edition of Endocrine Today makes me scratch my head.  First and foremost, had this study been conducted in 1976 in the US and not in Germany, ...
Inaccurate Monitors and Strips - Sep 02
Some of you may have read about the FDA's recent warning about the inaccuracy of certain test strips while taking certain medications.  Honestly, I didn't pay much attention ...
Posted: Oct 1, 2009 11:19
  • Islet Cells Generation - Cure? I Think Not!

    This article in Diabetes Health discusses yet another new potential "cure."  However, yet again, it requires immunosuppressants which are not an option to me.  Thanks I don't have heart disease or bone deterioration now.  Personally, I don't want to replace one disease with several others!

    So, here was my comment to the Diabetes Health article that I posted yesterday:

    " don't get it. Why is this any better than any other current "cure" that ultimately generates beta cells. You still have to take immunosuppressants - steroids - which are very, very bad. And you can't take steroids forever. You eventually have to stop and then we'll just reject again.

    Please stop coming up with "cures" that aren't cures. For a type 1 there is no cure that doesn't address why we reject the beta cells in the first place. Honestly, I think we're still at stem cells (of some form) that don't need immunosuppressants and that we won't just simply reject again.

    But I'm often accused of being too logical and not emotional enough so ..."

    Another poster responded "first we crawl then we walk."  My response to that is:

    "Seymour, I'm afraid we're at the same place we were when I was diagnosed 11/2/76. How long do we have to crawl?

    They can (and have been able to) get us to make more islets, beta cells, insulin but they can't tell the immune system to stay put.

    I don't know of any healthy (no steroids) progress there. That tells me we still don't know the cause(s) of type 1 and that it is an imperative missing cog in the wheel.

    I also am a firm believer in environmental causes (not food) - chemicals, etc. And who is going to have the audacity to say that? And then, are we permanently in immune overdrive? Is there a fix to that?

    Thus, I focus on my own person responsiblity and fastidious care with the tools we have.

    For me that means - testing 15 times a day, lots of small shots, an insulin cocktail, fewer carbs, normalized target as recommended by Dr. Bernstein, etc.

    It's a choice but it keeps my limbs attached, my eyeballs working and my butt out of the ER. After 33 years, a cure would be nice but not much has changed if they can't fix our immune systems."

    Doris J. Dickson

    Comments (4):
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  • By: : Nov, 03, 2009 11:47 AM

    Well put Doris.  I know, I know.....it is disheartening to say the least when researchers label this research as a "cure" when it is just a "spot fix" to an immunological malfunction.  They are just "fixing a leak" rather than trying to figure out why the "plumbing isn't working in the first place".  Hmmm...  You see if they can immunology real well, then cures for Cancer, Leukemia, MS, would experience breakthroughs as well. You are talking about a system that is the body's strongest defense against sickness.  Strong isn't even the right word to describe it.

    By: FatCatAnna: Oct, 13, 2009 12:55 PM

    Comet - I have to admit - I always have been an optimist - and hope that studies such as what Doris has written about and the artificial pancreas (this one has been ongoing for many years - glad to see research is still ongoing) will one day be reality.  Maybe not in my time - but hopefully for the future.

    I know for myself, since switching over to the insulin pump, which I feel is sort of like an "external" pump - that my way of dealing with diabetes has improved 101% compared to how I was with MDI (multiple doseage injections).  Not that my control of my diabetes wasn't that bad on MDI, I just needed to jump start myself to take better control if I wanted to continue to avoid complications of diabetes.  I am sure that Jazzsushi would agree with that one - as they are on the Omnipod.

    I look forward to the day when if a "fill up" of my implant pancreas with extra insulin is all that is required - then that doesn't sound like a bad deal!

    I sometimes regret not going further on on my education, as I would have loved to have been part of the team finding out what works/doesn't - in order to bring advanced studies in diabetes to fruition. Anyone else feel that way sometimes?

    By: Comet: Oct, 10, 2009 22:29 PM

    Gene, work is actually still proceeding on an "immunoisolated" artificial pancreas - the basic idea is to embed living islet cells in a matrix that lets nutrients and glucose in (but not immune cells & factors like cytokines) and insulin out.  The shells are made of various compounds- polymers, silicon, cartilage, etc.    The tolerances on pore sizes as you can image are very challenging.  Here's one of the better articles on pilot study - the mice were cured of their diabetes but after 6 months the microspheres failed as the islet cells die or became recognized as foreign:  http://www.nature.com/nbt/journal/v15/n4/pdf/nbt0497-358.pdf .

    So if we were to translate this to current terms - would most trade BG testing and insulin shots for an intraperitoneal (in the gut) infusion every six months - probably not.   But if the technology improves to where the infusion (or implant) is needed only every 5 years, maybe...

    By: : Oct, 07, 2009 14:01 PM

    Doris.....I agree with you that they have not been able to really address the issue of root causes of insulin-dependent Diabetes. That is the mystery behind finding a cure.  

    I know that at the University Of St. Louis (School of Medicine maybe?) was working on study of islet-cell transplantation whereby they would implant islet cells into mice but first by putting the islets into a semi-permeable membrane (thus protecting them from rejection), but would allow insulin to be released.  The membrane thus solved the problem of rejection. I believe that it had temporarily "cured" diabetes in laboratory mice and were just beginning human trials.

    This was almost 10 years ago.  I wonder what has happened since. 

    Understand that even if a "cure" is found, there will be human trials that will go for a long time (lifetime?) before they become available to us folks.

    The study of rejection is what is at the core of research. And if they understood how immunity "malfunctions", perhaps there would be breakthroughs in curing AIDS, cancer, where there are questions about why the body's immune system works/doesn't, or turns on itself.


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