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Scientists Believe They're Close To A Cure For Type 1 Diabetes

Scientists believe they're close to a cure for Type 1 diabetes

Scientists believe they're close to a cure for Type 1 diabetes

Scientists believe they’re closing in on a cure for Type 1 diabetes, and perhaps making daily insulin shots a thing of the past for patients, according to studies published Monday.
Researchers from MIT, Harvard and Boston Children’s Hospital said they’re on the verge of developing replacements for pancreatic cells that are mysteriously destroyed by a patient’s own body — thus making it impossible to make insulin, which regulates blood sugar levels.
Scientists, writing in the journals Nature Medicine and Nature Biotechnology, said they’ve engineered material from brown algae that could work for up to six months at a time — in a huge relief from daily doses of insulin, whether by injection or insulin pump.
“We are excited by these results, and are working hard to advance this technology to the clinic,” said Daniel Anderson, an MIT chemical engineering professor.
Type 1 diabetes, previously known as juvenile diabetes, afflicts about 1.25 million Americans, and about 200,000 of them are under 20, according to a CDC report in 2014.
Type 1 diabetes is believed to have a genetic connection and is not related to weight or lifestyle, as is Type 2 diabetes.
“Encapsulation therapies have the potential to be groundbreaking for people with (Type 1 diabetes),” said Julia Greenstein, vice president of discovery research of the JDRF, formerly known as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. “These treatments aim to effectively establish long-term insulin independence and eliminate the daily burden of managing the disease for months, possibly years, at a time with Continue reading

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Gene Therapy for Type 1 Diabetes: Preclinical Promise

Gene Therapy for Type 1 Diabetes: Preclinical Promise

Despite eclectic ways of delivering insulin to control blood glucose level in people with type 1 diabetes (T1D), no approach precisely replicates what happens in the body. Gene therapy may hold the answer.
T1D is usually autoimmune, with inherited risk factors such as certain HLA haplotypes contributing to, but not directly causing, the condition. A clever use of gene therapy is to commandeer liver cells to step in for the pancreatic beta cells that autoimmunity destroys.
MILESTONES IN HISTORY
One of the most classic stories of modern medicine concerns T1D: discovery of insulin at the University of Toronto in the early 1920s. Young surgeon Frederick Banting and medical student Charles Best were grudgingly given lab space and ten beagles to conduct their famous experiments that identified “isletin”.
In the summer of 1921, the hormone kept alive Marjorie, a dog whose pancreas had been removed, and in January 1922, it saved the first patient, 14-year-old Leonard Thompson.
Human insulin was the first drug produced using recombinant DNA technology. From shocking new biotechnology circa 1982, human insulin is today an item easily picked up at a drug store. But effectively using human insulin requires frequent monitoring and timing of injections, and even the most careful schedule sometimes can’t prevent long-term effects of uncontrolled blood glucose levels.
The prototype insulin pump dates to 1963; a wearable form came a decade later. Many people use pumps today to provide insulin in a manner more like a pancreas.
Thousands of islet transplants — the cell clusters that i Continue reading

Diane Abbott reveals she has type 2 diabetes

Diane Abbott reveals she has type 2 diabetes

Diane Abbott has revealed she has Type 2 diabetes and that the condition is what forced her to take a break from the election campaign.
The shadow home secretary told the Guardian she was diagnosed with the condition two years ago and it was "out of control" during the campaign, when she gave some faltering performances.
"During the election campaign, everything went crazy," she said.
She said she was managing the condition and was ready to get back to work.
Type 2 diabetes is a long-term condition that causes a person's blood sugar level to become too high.
It can be controlled by taking medication to reduce glucose to normal levels and also by making lifestyle and dietary changes.
Police figures
Ms Abbott was criticised for her performance during the election campaign, in which she stumbled several times during interviews and appeared unable to give detailed answers to questions.
In one interview with LBC Radio, she mistakenly said plans to boost police numbers by 10,000 would cost £300,000. It led to a barrage of criticism from the Conservatives who said she could not "add up".
She pulled out of an interview on BBC's Woman's Hour with just a few minutes' notice amid unconfirmed reports that some within the party leadership had lost confidence in her.
Just 48 hours before polling day, Labour said Ms Abbott was taking a period of sick leave and would be replaced "indefinitely" by Lyn Brown.
'Vicious'
Ms Abbott, a key ally and friend of Jeremy Corbyn, said she was badly affected after facing six or seven interviews in a row without eating enough food - vital to managing bl Continue reading

Scientists Move One Step Closer To “Curing” Diabetes Using First-Ever Stem Cell Implant

Scientists Move One Step Closer To “Curing” Diabetes Using First-Ever Stem Cell Implant

Clinical trials have begun for ViaCyte's PEC-Direct, an implant that grows insulin-producing cells from stem cells to treat type 1 diabetes patients. If successful, the implant could eliminate the need for these patients to inject themselves with insulin.
No More Injections
The World Health Organization reports that more than 422 million people worldwide are living with diabetes, a condition that can take two forms. In the first, the body’s immune system attacks cells in the pancreas, preventing the organ from producing enough insulin [type 1 diabetes (T1D)]. In the second, the body doesn’t know how to use the insulin that is produced [type 2 diabetes (TD2)].
T1D accounts for roughly 10 percent of diabetes cases, and unlike T2D, which can often be reversed through lifestyle changes such as weight loss or increased exercise, scientists have yet to figure out how to prevent or cure T1D.
Right now, T1D is best managed by balancing insulin doses, but this method can be problematic in high-risk cases, taking time to act. Moreover, patients with hypoglycemia (low glucose) unawareness may not notice when their blood sugar drops dangerously low. Thankfully, researchers all over the world are hard at work looking for a cure that will free T1D patients from their dependence on insulin injections and from risky situations when their levels drop low.
Now, one group may have found such a cure.
Just last week, California-based company ViaCyte began trials involving two T1D patients who were implanted with the company’s PEC-Direct device.
Each of these credit card-sized implants car Continue reading

Putting the Brakes on Diabetes Complications

Putting the Brakes on Diabetes Complications

Encouraging news: People with diabetes are living longer, healthier lives with fewer complications. What’s the driving force? Greater awareness and better control of risk factors are moving the needle.
We’ve come a long way in reducing the impact of diabetes on people’s lives. In the last 20 years, rates of several major complications have decreased among US adults with diabetes. The greatest declines were for two leading causes of death: heart attack and stroke. (People with diabetes are at higher risk for heart disease, and they may get it more severely and at a younger age than people who don’t have diabetes.) This is meaningful progress.
It’s important to note that during that same 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than tripled as the American population has aged. Diabetes complications still take a heavy toll on the health of millions of people and on our health care system.
Why Complications Are So … Complicated
Diabetes complications often share the same risk factors, and one complication can make other complications worse. For example, many people with diabetes also have high blood pressure, which in turn worsens eye and kidney diseases. Diabetes tends to lower HDL (“good”) cholesterol and raise triglycerides and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, which increases the risk for heart disease and stroke. Smoking doubles the risk of heart disease in people with diabetes.
Take a closer look at these major diabetes complications:
Heart disease and stroke: People with diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease or a stroke as Continue reading

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