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But I Am Going to Tell You The Truth July 25, 2012

Posted by laosita in diabetes.
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A presenter who is a scientist is very different than a scientist who happens to do presentations. And by scientist I mean researcher, doctor, super-smart person. Dr Ronald Gill presented the research update at Saturday’s JDRF Reach & Teach U event. I immediately liked him as he said: I’m not going to tell you there’s a cure around the corner. But I am going to tell you the truth.

Thank goodness. Hope makes me tired, particularly in learning environments. FFL was an awesome experience and one that, at some point, I hope to have again. But if there was such a thing as too hopeful, you’d find it there. I respect the idea of hope and the ability to have hope for any length of time, but that’s not necessarily how I roll. I don’t remember not living with diabetes (except for one ridiculous self-scissored hair cut), and I’ve been lucky enough to have resources available to me so I can successfully thrive with this disease. I don’t believe a true cure exists in my lifetime. However, as the DOC has blogged before, a cure can mean something different for each person.

But back to Dr Gill, he eloquently expressed his knowledge regarding Type 1 diabetes research. To him, a cure means preventing the disease, turning it around after onset, plus a true cure. I hurt just a little bit when a mom to a newly diagnosed 8-year-old asked, well, how far away is this and aren’t they doing studies mostly on adults? It will be 5 years before he’s even a teenager.

I recognized the fear and blind hope in her voice. But the first thing I thought was, sorry Mom, I’m not sure what you’re waiting for in the next 5 years. I know CGMs, pumps and insulins will improve. But a cure, no way. (Dr G reported that studies are beginning to include more under-age subjects.)

Moving on to what I meant to share, Dr Gill described some top advancements.

  • Artificial pancreas. Pump/CGM working together without help from broken-pancreas person. Key issue here is safety (also the area that FDA is consistently held up on). For example, what if the CGM sends a 400 BG to the pump, the pump delivers 8 units of insulin, but you were actually 82?
  • Islet replacement and beta-cell therapy. I learned here about encapsulation. The cell must ‘hide’ from the immune system otherwise the immune system goes after it again. Polymers or even seaweed are possible options to encapsulate the cells.
  • Smart insulin. The insulin binds to a molecule (and is injected), as glucose in the body increases, the glucose tries to bind to this molecule thus knocking off an insulin which is then released to lower glucose levels (obviously that is not the scientific version).

JDRF did not ask me to write about this event. I attended this event using my own resources, and any medical statements in this post are written as I understood them. Do your own research or talk with a medical professional to review accurate scientific information- I barely passed Chem 101.

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Comments»

1. Scott E - July 25, 2012

So THAT’S how “smart insulin” is supposed to work! I never quite understood how this could be done; I always thought it would be in two stages: (1) measure BG (2) release insulin.. and an injectible liquid couldn’t possibly have the mechanics to do that. Bringing these two stages together into one makes sense to me, and gives me a little more hope that it could become a helpful reality.


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