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Looking To Cure Type 1 Diabetes, Investors Front $114m To Launch A Pioneering Human Study At Semma

Looking To Cure Type 1 Diabetes, Investors Front $114m To Launch A Pioneering Human Study At Semma

Three years ago, Harvard’s Doug Melton published a landmark study outlining how he had successfully used stem cells to create insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells that were inserted in bulk into mice and successfully protected from an immune response — a breakthrough in regenerative medicine that bore real promise to provide a curative approach for Type 1 diabetes that could conceivably end a lifetime of insulin shots. It was the culmination of 23 years of lab work, launched when his son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. And that achievement marked the beginning of something new in biotech. That same year Semma Therapeutics would be launched — with a $44 million A round landing in 2015 — in pursuit of a mission to complete one of the most ambitious preclinical programs in the regenerative med field. And after working on all the nitty gritty research needed to see if this tech could be scaled up to human size, an expanded syndicate of venture investors have put together a whopping $114 million round with plans to take this into humans for a first-of-its-kind proof-of-concept study. One of the big challenges Semma faced in scaling up, Melton tells me, was to create a membrane specifically designed with pores that were large enough for molecules to pass through but too small for immune cells to penetrate. Using some calculations from the lab, Melton and his colleagues estimated that they would need some 150 million cells — possibly ranging up to three times that amount — in order to provide the natural insulin needed to eliminate the shots. Melton compares the membrane to a tea bag, but one that couldn’t be overloaded. The replacement cells, he said, “will only secrete the right amount depending on the level of sugar in the blood.” The big round mark Continue reading >>

Drive To Cure Diabetes

Drive To Cure Diabetes

"This research will attempt to reverse established diabetes, rather than simply introduce new pumps or other types of new equipment or drugs to delay the onset of diabetic complications. That is a cause for new hope and a new vision for people who already have diabetes" If you want to keep informed about the progress of the Golf Outing, leave us your email address below, and we will send out an email to you with news of our outing and the registration materials when they become available. We will not give away your email address, nor use it in any manner other than to communicate with you. With any email you receive, you will be given an opportunity to unsubscribe. Shortly after her 11th birthday in 2006, Casey K. (pictured at left) was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, a disease that affects millions around the world. This happened even though there was no history of diabetes in her family. After the initial shock, her parents, Bob and Kathi began a period of learning as much as they could about the disease, how to care for a diabetic child, and what the future might hold for such a child. Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease resulting from the body's T-cells that revert to destroying the patient's pancreas. It is a disease that one cannot relax about. It is a 24 hour, 7 day a week, constant threat. Casey, and every child and adult out there, who never asked for this disease, or did anything to warrant getting it, will require insulin constantly, whether by injection or by an insulin pump. There is no cure, yet. At a seminar at Maria Fareri Children's Hospital, in Valhalla, NY, the question was raised "What research is currently on-going that has promise of a genuine cure?" The diabetes educators conducting the seminar, Dan and Jen (who are both diabetic) replied, " Continue reading >>

City Of Hope Sets New Goal For Type 1 Diabetes Cure

City Of Hope Sets New Goal For Type 1 Diabetes Cure

Curing type 1 diabetes in six years is the new goal of Duarte, Calif., based City of Hope’s Diabetes and Metabolism Research Institute. Through the generosity of the Wanek family and gifts from anonymous donors, the institution will be able to devote more than $50 million over the next six years to an innovative research effort that seeks to find a cure for type 1 diabetes. The family’s gift will establish the Wanek Family Project for Type 1 Diabetes at City of Hope. City of Hope, which has a long history in diabetes, conducted research that led to the development of synthetic human insulin by Arthur D. Riggs, PhD, in 1978. Insulin is still used today by an estimated 1.5 million Americans with type 1 diabetes and 27 million with type 2 diabetes. Funding for this transformative research is being led by a gift from the Wanek family, who founded and currently owns Ashley Furniture Industries. The project will create a series of highly focused programs based at City of Hope that will use an integrated approach to curing type 1 diabetes, including immunotherapy approaches, as well as research into beta cell transplantation and preventing the body from rejecting those insulin secreting cells. “City of Hope is best positioned to take on this challenge,” said Robert W. Stone, president and CEO of City of Hope. “This is thanks to our 40-year institutional legacy of pioneering treatment and research advances in diabetes. City of Hope’s goal to cure type 1 diabetes will focus on three core areas that are crucial in treating both types of diabetes: Immune modulation – Research is already underway at City of Hope to unlock the immune system’s role in diabetes, including T cell modulation and stem cell-based therapies that may reverse the autoimmune attack on islet ce Continue reading >>

Strict Diets Could Be 'cure' For Type 2 Diabetes

Strict Diets Could Be 'cure' For Type 2 Diabetes

A new study has concluded weight loss and diet can reverse the most common form of diabetes. Around half of those with Type 2 went into remission after 12 months using an intensive low calorie diet and no medication, according to the trial funded by charity Diabetes UK. Around 300 people in Scotland and Tyneside took part in the Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial. Half received standard care from their GP for type 2 diabetes - the most common form of the condition, strongly linked to lifestyle - while the other half received a structured weight management programme. Findings from the first year showed that around 46% of those who took part in the diet programme were in remission after 12 months. Participant Isobel Murray, 65, from North Ayrshire, lost more than 22kg and no longer needs diabetes medication. She said: "I was on various medications which were constantly increasing and I was becoming more and more ill every day. "When the doctors told me that my pancreas was working again, it felt fantastic, absolutely amazing. "I don't think of myself as a diabetic any more. I get all my diabetes checks done, but I don't feel like a diabetic." The trial found that around 86% of those who lost 15kg or more went into remission, compared with 4% of the control group. The findings, which will be published in The Lancet medical journal, also stated that 57% who lost 10 to 15kg and 34% of those who lost five to 10kg also went into remission. Remission was defined as having blood glucose levels (HbA1c) of less than 6.5% (48mmol/mol), with at least two months without any Type 2 diabetes medications. Lead researcher Professor Roy Taylor, from Newcastle University, described the results as "very exciting" and said they could "revolutionise the way Type 2 diabetes is treated". "This b Continue reading >>

Weight Can In Fact Reverse Type 2 Diabetes, Study Shows

Weight Can In Fact Reverse Type 2 Diabetes, Study Shows

Mario Anzuoni—Reuters A new study discovered that weight loss really can cure diabetes. In a paper published in the Lancet, researchers in the United Kingdom discovered that patients with Type 2 diabetes went into remission when they lost weight, Time reports. Half of the patients in the study went on a 6-month diet plan, while the other half did not. Those that dieted and lost an average of 30 pounds saw their diabetes start to disappear. None of the patients took any daibetes medication for the disease during the study and instead focused exclusively on the effects of weight loss on the chronic condition. The diet involved three to five months of a liquid diet averaging no more than 850 calories a day, followed by two to eight weeks of reintroducing food. Patients were also given nutritional education and cognitive behavioral therapy. Researchers hope to point out with the study that diabetes doesn’t have to be a life-long sentence, and instead is something that can be fought with hard work. However, the weight loss treatment is only effective if done during the first few years of the onset of Type 2 diabetes. Patients who have been living with the disease for 10 years or more have also suffered a loss of some cells which make the weight loss method alone ineffective. Continue reading >>

A Cure For Diabetes?

A Cure For Diabetes?

A crash diet lasting just three months can reverse Type 2 diabetes, a landmark study has shown. Nearly half the people who underwent the diet saw their condition go into remission — providing the strongest evidence yet that diabetes can be eradicated by simply losing weight. The patients had struggled with their condition for up to six years, using drugs to control their blood sugar levels. But a year after starting the 850-calorie-a-day diet, 75 percent were drug free and 46 percent had seen their blood sugar drop so far they were no longer considered diabetic. Among those who lost the most weight the results were even more extraordinary, the Lancet publication shows. Some 86 percent of people who lost more than 15kg went into remission, along with 57 per cent of those who lost 10kg to 15kg, and 34 per cent of those who lost 5kg to 10kg. The British project — led by the universities of Newcastle and Glasgow — could fundamentally change the way the NHS deals with the UK’s booming diabetes epidemic. More than four million people in Britain have Type 2 diabetes, costing the NHS £14 billion a year. The disease — driven by obesity —was thought to be incurable once developed, and patients are usually just given drugs to control their blood sugar. Study leader Professor Roy Taylor, of Newcastle University, said: ‘These findings are very exciting. The weightloss goals provided by this programme are achievable for many people.’ The team believes Type 2 diabetes is caused when accumulated fat in the pancreas and liver interferes with insulin production, which in turn sees blood sugar levels spiking. Professor Taylor said: ‘Substantial weight loss results in reduced fat inside the liver and pancreas, allowing the organs to return to normal function.’ The stud Continue reading >>

A Cure For Diabetes?

A Cure For Diabetes?

IN 1922, DOCTORS watched in excitement as the first insulin shots transformed a deathly ill diabetic 14-year-old into a healthy teenage boy. Little did they know that nearly a century later, insulin would still be the only medicine doctors have to offer most of the 1.5 million people in the U.S. with type 1 diabetes (also known as juvenile diabetes, even though it can develop in adulthood). Most people with type 1 must constantly monitor their blood sugar and give themselves a fix of insulin two to four times a day to stay alive. But now Bart Roep, PhD, founding chair of the Department of Diabetes Immunology at the Duarte, California–based research institute City of Hope, is pioneering a vaccine that could forever end dependence on insulin injections. In people with type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks and destroys the beta cells in the pancreas that produce, store, and release insulin, the hormone that helps regulate blood sugar. Too little insulin, and blood glucose levels increase to dangerous— even deadly—levels. High blood sugar can in turn change proteins in blood vessels, says Roep, creating problems with the vasculature, a major complication in type 1 and 2 diabetes. (Diabetes can also lead to blindness, kidney failure, and nerve damage.) The new vaccine, called D-Sense, helps reeducate the immune system, teaching it not to assault the insulin producing factories. Provided a person still has some functioning beta cells, it c Continue reading >>

Diabetes Cure 'in Sight'

Diabetes Cure 'in Sight'

A cure for diabetes may be in sight, according to a new study. In what is being hailed as the biggest step forward in the development of a treatment for the condition, which affects 1.4million Britons, experts have found a way to reverse it using a form of gene therapy. Although experiments have so far been carried out successfully only on animals, scientists say the breakthrough paves the way for trials in humans. The Korean and Canadian experts cured rats and mice of diabetes by replacing malfunctioning genes which stop diabetics producing insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. They genetically altered an aden-ovirus - a type of germ which causes chest infections - so that it could carry a gene that releases insulin directly to the liver and pancreas. The scientists, whose research is published today in the scientific journal Nature, hoped the gene would replace the malfunctioning one that caused diabetes. They were amazed when a simple injection meant the animals, which were all suffering from the more serious type 1 diabetes, went into remission without any noticeable side effects. They continued to produce insulin for another eight months after the injection, the scientists from Yonsei University in Seoul and Calgary University report. Though they stressed it was too early to say if the therapy would work in humans, they hailed it as a significant step forward. 'This gene therapy may have potential therapeutic value for the cure of auto-immune diabetes in humans,' they said. Dr Jerrold Olefsky, a diabetes expert at California University, said, 'This represents a definite step forward and offers a good example of how fundamental research can be applied to problems of human health.' Continue reading >>

Will Diabetes Go Away?

Will Diabetes Go Away?

There is no cure for diabetes. Neither type 1 (juvenile onset or insulin-requiring) diabetes or type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes ever goes away. In type 1 diabetes, patients sometimes experience what physicians have come to call a "honeymoon period" shortly after the disease is diagnosed. During the "honeymoon period" diabetes may appear to go away for a period of a few months to a year. The patient's insulin needs are minimal and some patients may actually find they can maintain normal or near normal blood glucose taking little or no insulin. It would be a mistake to assume that the diabetes has gone away, however. Basically, type 1 diabetes occurs when about 90 percent of the body's insulin-producing cells have been destroyed. At the time that type 1 diabetes is diagnosed, most patients still are producing some insulin. If obvious symptoms of type 1 diabetes emerge when the patient has an illness, virus or cold, for example, once the illness subsides the body's insulin needs may decrease. At this point, the number of insulin-producing cells remaining may be enough — for the moment — to meet the person's insulin needs again. But the process that has destroyed 90 percent of the insulin-producing cells will ultimately destroy the remaining insulin-producing cells. And as that destruction continues, the amount of injected insulin the patient needs will increase — and ultimately the patient will be totally dependent on insulin injections. Scientists now think that it is important for people with newly diagnosed diabetes to continue taking some insulin by injection even during the honeymoon period. Why? Because they have some scientific evidence to suggest that doing so will help preserve the few remaining insulin-producing cells for a while longer. Patients diagnosed wi Continue reading >>

The Cure For Diabetes

The Cure For Diabetes

It's a wonder no one has tried to have Mary Vernon's medical license revoked. Since 1999, the 52-year-old family doctor has been treating diabetic patients in Lawrence, Kansas, with an approach that was abandoned by most physicians in the 1930s. Worse, this Depression-era remedy is the opposite of the current guidelines established by the American Diabetes Association, a nonprofit organization that spent nearly $51 million on research in 2005, and so should know a thing or two about how to handle diabetes. There's no question that Dr. Vernon is trouble -- but for whom? Not her patients, that's for certain. They just won't stay sick. People walk into her office afflicted with type-2 diabetes and, by every objective medical measurement, walk out cured. There's $51 million that says that isn't supposed to happen, not in a clinic in Kansas, and definitely not as a result of cleaning out the refrigerator. "My first line of treatment is to have patients remove carbohydrates from their diets," explains Dr. Vernon, a petite, energetic mother of two who also serves as the president of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians. "This is often all it takes to reverse their symptoms, so that they no longer require medication." That's it? That's it -- a simple strategy, but one that's controversial. If Dr. Vernon and a growing cadre of researchers are correct about carbohydrates, we may be looking at an epic case of ignorance on the part of the medical community. That, however, pales next to the implications for the American Diabetes Association, namely that the very organization dedicated to conquering diabetes is rejecting what could be the closest thing we have to a cure. *** Although not an infectious disease, diabetes seems to be spreading like one. Since 1980, its prevalenc Continue reading >>

Breakthrough Pill Can Cure Diabetes: New Drug Fights Both Types Of Killer Disease

Breakthrough Pill Can Cure Diabetes: New Drug Fights Both Types Of Killer Disease

Handing hope to the millions of sufferers in the UK, the new study suggests that a “probiotic pill” - one containing live bacteria - can radically reduce blood glucose levels. In experiments researchers discovered that using a pill containing common bacteria found in the human gut can shift the control of glucose levels from the pancreas to the upper intestine. It is believed that this “rewiring” of the body could revolutionise treatment for diabetes - both Types 1 and 2 - and potentially one day offer the possibility of a cure. Professor John March, leading the research, said: “If it works really well in people, it could be that they just take the pill and wouldn’t have to do anything else to control their diabetes. It’s likely, though, that it will be used in conjunction with some other treatment.” Diabetes occurs when the amount of glucose in a sufferer’s blood becomes too high because the body cannot use it properly. This happens when the pancreas does not produce any insulin (Type 1), or not enough insulin to help glucose enter the body’s cells – or the insulin that is produced does not work properly, known as insulin resistance (Type 2). But the new study suggests a manufactured probiotic pill could shift control of glucose levels away from the pancreas - addressing both types of diabetes. Published in the journal Diabetes, senior author Professor March and colleagues at Cornell University, New York, told how they had engineered a common strain of “friendly” human gut bacteria called Lactobacillus to secrete a peptide - a hormone that releases insulin in response to food. Lactobacillus is a probiotic often used to prevent and treat diarrhoea, as well as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease and some skin disorders. Over a peri Continue reading >>

This Researcher Says Diabetes Is Not Always Chronic. Here’s How To Cure It

This Researcher Says Diabetes Is Not Always Chronic. Here’s How To Cure It

If you Google type 2 diabetes, reliable sources—like the National Institutes of Health website—will tell you that it’s a chronic condition. But Newcastle University researcher Roy Taylor, M.D., begs to differ. His research finds that some people are able to reverse their diabetes by going on an ultra low-calorie diet. For Dr. Taylor’s new study, 30 diabetic people ate just 700 calories daily for two months. They lost 31 pounds on average. Related: THE 21-DAY METASHRED—One Guy Lost 25 Pounds In Just 6 Weeks! Twelve of those subjects’ blood sugar levels fell below the threshold for diabetes, 126 milligrams per deciliter, as a result. Some of their levels were completely within the normal range, Dr. Taylor says, but the average fell within pre-diabetic parameters. Afterward, the researchers gave the study participants guidance on portion size to help them return to a normal diet while maintaining their new, lower weight. Six months later, all of those people were still diabetes-free. That means that as long as they keep their weight down, they no longer need to take insulin or constantly monitor their blood sugar. They’re no longer at risk for premature heart attacks and strokes, or diabetes complications that can damage their eyes, kidneys, and feet, says Dr. Taylor. Plus, they just feel better—poor blood sugar regulation can zap your energy. How does a diet cure type 2 diabetes? It comes down to weight loss, he says. Diabetes is caused by a buildup of fat in your pancreas, Dr. Taylor says. The extra fat screws with your organ’s ability to make insulin, the hormone that controls your blood sugar. Related: Does Sugar Really Cause Diabetes? But when you lose fat, the first bit to go is the fat in your organs, says Dr. Taylor. “In the first 10 to 14 kilog Continue reading >>

Researchers Just Accidentally Found An Effective Alzheimer’s Treatment While Trying To Cure Diabetes

Researchers Just Accidentally Found An Effective Alzheimer’s Treatment While Trying To Cure Diabetes

Developing new treatments for ailments can be a tedious and frustrating process for scientists. Oftentimes, newly developed drugs just don’t work the way they were intended, falling short of expectations and leading to a dead end. But other times, a drug developed for one purpose turns out to be even more effective at treating something completely different. That appears to be exactly what is happening with a new class of drug originally developed for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, but has recently been shown to have a drastic benefit in mice with Alzheimer’s. The new drugs, which are classified as “triple agonist” (because they work in three ways), were tested on mice which were developed to express genes linked to Alzheimer’s. The animals were already exhibiting many of the symptoms associated with the disease, including compromised memory and difficulty learning, but showed dramatic improvement in their brain function after receiving the unique treatment. The treatment “holds clear promise of being developed into a new treatment for chronic neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease,” Professor Christian Holscher, lead researcher of the study, explains. The research was published in Brain Research. According to the study, the triple-acting treatment is thought to work against Alzheimer’s disease by protecting nerve cells, reducing amyloid plaques in the brain (which have been linked to Alzheimer’s), and reducing inflammation while slowing nerve cell degradation. Mice that received treatment demonstrated significant improvement in learning as well as memory formation. Discovering a potential new treatment for a devastating disease like Alzheimer’s is fantastic news, but the fact that the drug was initially intended to treat type 2 Continue reading >>

Gene Therapy Cures Diabetes In Mice

Gene Therapy Cures Diabetes In Mice

Scientists said today they have used a new type of gene therapy to cure diabetes in mice and rats that could pave the way for new treatments for millions of people with the disease. Diabetes is a chronic condition in which sufferers produce little or no insulin, a hormone that regulates blood-sugar levels, and must rely on a strict diet or intravenous injection to control the disorder. But researchers at Yonsei University in South Korea and the University of Calgary in Canada have developed a technique to deliver an altered human insulin gene into mice and rats suffering from type 1 diabetes. Type 1, or insulin-dependent diabetes, develops in childhood or early adulthood and was formerly known as juvenile diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. Potential for Human Use “This new gene therapy may have potential therapeutic value for the cure of autoimmune diabetes in humans,” Ji-Won Yoon, of the University of Calgary, and his colleagues said in a report in the science journal Nature. People with type 1 diabetes produce no insulin because their body destroys the insulin-secreting beta cells in the pancreas. The scientists delivered the altered insulin gene into the diabetic rodents with a modified virus injected into the animals. After the animals were treated, the altered gene kept the animals’ blood sugar at normal levels during the eight-month study. Big Challenges Although the results are encouraging, Jerrold Olefsky of the University of California in San Diego said it is still a huge leap from treating animals to humans. “Rodents are quite different from humans with respect to maintaining glucose [sugar] levels, and extending these results to human physiology may prove a challenge,” he said in a commentary in Nature. One of the biggest chal Continue reading >>

The Cure For Type Ii Diabetes

The Cure For Type Ii Diabetes

If you are already on insulin, absolutely do not stop taking insulin, and do not stop measuring your glucose levels, without your doctor's permission. Surprisingly, medical researchers, such as from Medical News Today, consider Type 2 diabetes to be an immune problem whereby the immune system attacks the body's own cells. Type 2 diabetes is in the process of being redefined as an autoimmune disease rather than just a metabolic disorder, said an author of a new study published in Nature Medicine this week, the findings of which may lead to new diabetes treatments that target the immune system instead of trying to control blood sugar. … The researchers believe that insulin resistance, the hallmark of type 2 diabetes (unlike type 1 diabetes where it is the insulin-producing cells that are destroyed), is the result of B cells and other immune cells attacking the body's own tissues. This discovery is nothing new to some natural medicine researchers. Treatments that do the things necessary to build the immune system have been curing type 2 diabetes for years. Some of these treatments are “electromedicine” treatments which use gentle electrical waves to do the things necessary to rebuild the immune system. But these gentle electrical waves do not directly build the immune system, rather they remove the “root cause” of why the immune system is dysfunctional in the first place. Think of the school bully. Instead of fixing the students he beats up every week, the school might just kick the bully out of school. By doing this the school is not dealing with the “symptoms” of the bully (i.e. the injured students) they are dealing with the “root cause” of the injuries (i.e. the bully). So what is the “root cause” of why the immune system is weak? To understand th Continue reading >>

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