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26 Responses

  1. amber
    amber March 4, 2010 at 6:25 am | | Reply

    In other words, the focus has shifted from seeking a biological cure to seeking the massive profit of keeping us all on pumps and CGMS for the rest of our lives. Of course it will be a “better idea” for them to develop some integrated pump that will make us happy and just comfortable enough that we forget that we still need a real cure, all the while we’re continuing to give them $100s a month in disposable accessories, test strips to calibrate and vials of insulin. An artificial pancreas would indeed be the ideal situation for companies in the business of making money off of my diabetes. It is not a cure, it’s a bandaid, and it’s the reason why JDRF will not be getting any more of my money.

  2. Scott
    Scott March 4, 2010 at 6:57 am | | Reply

    I agree with you, Amy … in fact, Dan e-mailed me after I reviewed his book on my own blog expressing some disbelief (or dismay?) that I didn’t agree with all of his theories without question (he’s a journalist, so I was a bit surprised he wasn’t used to opposing views, but whatever …). But if one looks at JDRF’s budget, the numbers suggest that his view on the biological cure vs. the mechanical cure (as he refers to it in his book) is quite different: the artificial pancreas is literally less than pennies on the dollar, while biological investments, including the work JDRF is doing with Macrogenics/Lilly and GlaxoSmithKline/Tolerx, as well as similar efforts suggest that JDRF’s goal is to fund the artificial pancreas to keep people as healthy as possible while some of the curative therapies are refined, so again, he’s viewing things from one perspective, while JDRF sees things from a slightly different perspective. Still, I think there’s plenty of room for differing viewpoints. BTW, after the NPR interview with Mr. Hurley, I actually have newfound respect for Mr. Hurley’s perspective!!

  3. Chicago
    Chicago March 4, 2010 at 8:16 am | | Reply

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  4. Leighann of D-Mom Blog
    Leighann of D-Mom Blog March 4, 2010 at 8:34 am | | Reply

    My thoughts on this are many and I won’t be able to formulate them coherently, I’m afraid.

    1. I NEVER talk to my daughter about a cure. NEVER. Why get hopes up in a five-year-old for something that may or may not happen any time soon. Our reality is that she has diabetes and needs insulin. I would be doing her a major disservice to give her false hopes that she could go off insulin any time soon.

    That being said, of course we would welcome a cure if and when it comes along.

    2. I agree that I don’t want another single child (or parent) to have to go through this. Of course I wish there was a way to prevent new cases. However, finding prevention does nothing to help my child who already has diabetes.

    Though if there was a way to prevent my other child from acquiring it, I would.

    3. I always reassure parents of newly diagnosed children that they did nothing to cause this. We have enough guilt already.

    I often say when speaking about parenting choices that we have to make the best decisions based on the knowledge and ability we have AT THE TIME.

    When our daughter was diagnosed, my husband and I both had the same thought: What if the BPA in the baby bottles we used caused this? (BPA is a known endocrine disruptor.) But when she was born we didn’t have the information that BPA could be released when a bottle is heated.

    And if cow’s milk-based formula is to blame, then does the blame shift to me for giving my child formula? I was physically unable to produce enough milk and had to supplement with formula, eventually switching to formula only. I did much better with my second child, but still fell very short.

    If we do find that there was something that we could have done to prevent it, I hope that us parents can reconcile this in our minds and hearts and realize that we just didn’t know and did not harm our children intentionally.

    4. At this point I am all for better management techniques and technologies. Of course I want a cure, but until then, I want to make it as easy as possible for my daughter to live as normal a life as she can given what we know NOW and the resources available to us.

  5. Crystal
    Crystal March 4, 2010 at 8:53 am | | Reply

    I shall continue to take one day at a time. It’s all I can handle. :-)

  6. Anne Findlay
    Anne Findlay March 4, 2010 at 9:43 am | | Reply

    Someone will profit from the AP eventually. It doesn’t mean I won’t be elated to have one. But I still want a real cure. And I agree there should be a priority in preventing t1. It won’t help me, but what about my kids (should I have any in the future)? It would be a relief, to say the least.

  7. Erin
    Erin March 4, 2010 at 10:10 am | | Reply

    Another theory on the cause of the increase of type 1 diabetes in the modern world is the Western industrial diet. (And I don’t mean the factory farming/petroleum-based fertilization/etc. kind of “industrial”, though that probably doesn’t help, but more generally, the kind of food that we get in a post-industrial-revolution world.) Biochemist Dr. Stephan Guyenet puts up a good case for this–with lots of scientific literature–on his blog Whole Health Source. (http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/)

  8. David_Downs
    David_Downs March 4, 2010 at 10:44 am | | Reply

    @Amber: Some company will always profit from treating disease, that’s a fact of life and capitalism. I’ll be raising MORE money for the JDRF because I believe, as Mr. Hurley does, that pursuing a workable, livable solution to improving BG control is a huge leap forward.

    If islet encapsulation, insulin encapsulation, or stem cell therapy becomes available, I’ll be at the front of the line to get it. However, at least islet encapsulation has been pursued for decades with no meaningful results (other than failure tells you look elsewhere). I want to see the JDRF and the ADA fund research in stem cell therapy AND in mechanical solutions like the artificial pancreas. I feel like I’m on the cusp of another real improvement in my care … and the last time that happened was when I connected to my pump back in 1997.

  9. Leighann of D-Mom Blog
    Leighann of D-Mom Blog March 4, 2010 at 12:21 pm | | Reply

    Erin- My child was fed a vegetarian diet of largely organic and unprocessed foods, including a lot of homegrown fruits and vegetables grown without any pesticides or fertilizers and always drank milk free of hormones and antibiotics.

    I defy anyone to say that she ate a typical Western Diet or that what she ate could have possibly caused her T1. I couldn’t have possibly given her a better start.

    I would argue that the “Western Diet” is a major contributor to T2, but not T1.

  10. Bennet
    Bennet March 4, 2010 at 12:40 pm | | Reply

    “For now, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation has shifted much of its attention from searching for a biological cure, to working out the remaining technical and legal obstacles to bringing to market an artificial pancreas”

    I am with Scott on this.

    The amount being spent on biological cures by JDRF dwarfs the AP project. Fostering the idea that the AP is crowding out biological cure research needlessly inflames passions and so does a disservice to all.

    JDRF spending in millions from 2009 Annual Report
    $39 Beta Cell Therapies
    $33 Immune Therapies
    $6 Glucose Control (this is the group with AP)
    $22 Complications

    How can one claim that 6% constitutes “much?”

    (LOL my capticha for this post was “case false”.)

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  13. Colleen
    Colleen March 4, 2010 at 4:03 pm | | Reply

    I would just like to bring up a point. Finding a prevention for type 1 might actually be the same as finding a cure. Becuase like Dan said, the reason why beta cell transplants haven’t been successful is because the patient’s body kills the cells again. So if you can figure out how to prevent the autoimmune reaction you have essentially cured diabetes.

    Just a thought. :o )

  14. Jonathan
    Jonathan March 4, 2010 at 5:01 pm | | Reply

    I was surprised to see that there was no mention of stem cells in the post. I’ve heard on Radio that there are some promising things there, but I haven’t been able to find in-depth info on that. Here’s a link to a 2009 Time Magazine Article http://bit.ly/8KrJM

    From Time article, about the patients who had their own stem cells injected into their pancreas:
    “I wouldn’t use the word cure,” says Dr. Richard Burt, one of the co-authors from Northwestern University. “But it appears we changed the natural history of the disease. It’s the first therapy for patients that leaves them treatment-free — no insulin, no immune suppression for almost five years.”

    Generally, I’ve been disappointed by the word “cure” being used with diabetes ever since Halle Berry “cured Type1″ (impossible!…And I won’t even start in on the media for not knowing the dif. between T1 and T2.)

  15. Vladimir
    Vladimir March 4, 2010 at 7:30 pm | | Reply

    If we would just eat the Natural healthy and fresh fruits and vegetables, then there wouldn’t be so many diabetics. Most people eat the poisoned foods with high fructose corn syrup and then they wonder why they become diabetic, because HFCS is one of the poisons that makes us into diabetics.

  16. katerina
    katerina March 4, 2010 at 11:56 pm | | Reply

    What about LCT? Encapsulation of cells is working maybe not as a cure at tis point, but as a much more advanced treatment.

  17. Marco Bianchi
    Marco Bianchi March 5, 2010 at 8:14 am | | Reply

    To the dismay of many, I am glad that the shift is technological. I was a strong advocate even 10 years ago, that more money should be put into some kind of “artificial pancreas”. Thankfully, we are now on the cusp of having closed loop systems. Granted, they are not perfect but it will be way better than anything now. The biggest hurdle is cost of these systems. All companies are barely making any profit (pumps-> no, sensors-> no or barely, catheters+tubing-> yes), so the only thing keeping these technologies alive is our incessant use of meter strips. Glucose strips is the cash cow that will allow pumps to becoming the best approximation to beta cells. The only way we’ll stop using strips is 1st. CGMS sensors need to be cheap to produce (now they are not) 2nd. CGMS sensors need to be better at estimating blood glucose (now they are not) 3rd. Or another technology needs to come out to do what sensors do but in a better and cheaper way.

    All other “cure” research is still in the fundamental sciences, or what we call the pure sciences. No cure for a long long time. I am very comfortable with the idea (and always have been) that i will die as a type 1 diabetic. It is part of me, and I am diabetic.

  18. Nikki
    Nikki March 5, 2010 at 9:28 am | | Reply

    I don’t believe in a cure. I think the best we will get in my generation is better technology. I am glad that there are people that think differently then me but I completely ignore anything that talks about a cure.

  19. Dave
    Dave March 5, 2010 at 11:15 am | | Reply

    I am with the author on what he says. I think we need to raise the motivation for finding an actual cure vs treating the systems as a profitable business.
    Several breaks in this area have already occurred then buried.
    Cayeanne peppers successfully reversed Type II a couple of years ago in an unrelated experiment on mice. Has anyone checked the incidence of type II in Korea? Kimshe is a staple of their diet and loaded with peppers.
    Leptin was found to be just as important as insulin. The two interact in the body metabolism. Where one is not working, often the other isn’t working. Again mice are cured but humans are not by leptin injections.
    Iron overload has also been common in type IIs blood. Sometimes bringing the iron down reverses the immune reaction and brings a temporary reprieve. No one knows if it will be permanent.
    Islet cells were found to be produced by the spleen. The cells then migrated to the pancreas. Is this a cure for type I? No because you still have the under cause of it happening in the first place. But we were told once the cells died you are permanently type I. If the cells can be regenerated in the spleen and run down to the pancreas, you have a possible potential reversal of the condition. You still have to reverse the cause.
    I am not a doctor. These are all things I have run across in my research into my own type II. Why cure the disease when you have a potential profit cow for the rest of that person’s life? The only real cure will come when it becomes profitable to cure the disease itself.

  20. Steve
    Steve March 6, 2010 at 8:12 am | | Reply

    I deal with people with diabeties almost daily. The one think I have noticed is how nice they are. If there is a desease to be cured it shound be this one.

    Steve

  21. Scott K. Johnson
    Scott K. Johnson March 6, 2010 at 5:24 pm | | Reply

    Waitaminute… you mean the cure is NOT 5 years away??? Crap.

  22. Max
    Max March 12, 2010 at 12:37 pm | | Reply

    The need for a cure has undoubtedly increased over the last few decades, by the year 2020 it can double?!? We need a cure asap! Thank you so much for your blog post, I now really understand how drastically type 1 as increased throughout the population.

  23. Steve
    Steve March 22, 2010 at 4:43 pm | | Reply

    I hate to say it but there is so much money being make from this desease I don’t think the Pharm companies even want a cure.

  24. False Hopes and Blame
    False Hopes and Blame April 13, 2010 at 4:04 am |

    [...] Tenderich’s recent post Rethinking a ‘Cure’ for Diabetes? on Diabetes Mine was a guest post by Hurley. Even though I have not read the book, his guest post [...]

  25. Michael
    Michael April 22, 2010 at 6:33 pm | | Reply

    Ha, when I was diagnosed with type 1 as a freshman in high school in 1996 I remember the doctors at a diabetes clinic said unequivocably that “there will be a cure in 10 years,” I wasn’t stupid enough to believe it then and I’m not stupid enough to believe it now. There is not now, nor will there anytime soon or most likely not even in my lifetime (I’m 28 now) be a cure for Diabetes and the reasons now are the same as I believed then:

    3-4 Test strips per day
    1-11/2 bottles of Humalog per month
    1-11/2 bottles of Lantus per month
    And now “you’ve been on insulin so long that you’ve developed a resistance to it so you’re going to need to use Symlin (to the tune of a 1/2 bottle per month)”
    Preventative pills for blood pressure and cholesterol (though neither have ever been high)
    Syringes
    Glucose meter every two to three years
    lancets
    Regular doctor visits

    Now why would anyone want to cure this when I can be buying all this stuff for 40+ years which would only contribute to more health problems as I get older no matter how controlled I can keep blood sugars, hell when I go blind they can sell me a cane!

  26. putt
    putt May 7, 2010 at 5:55 am | | Reply

    there’s a cure. how long it takes to become a reality – who knows?
    it’s nice to think there are smart, qualified professionals working on curing this disease. i’m all for the ap, why not get the latest technology to help maintain good bs? no matter what the cost you can’t afford not to have the best of what is available, this is our health we’re talking about. who cares who profits? the bottom line is having a good a1c and living a long and complication-free life.

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