Is a cure/reversal for T1's closer?

By Nick1962 Latest Reply 2012-11-03 16:37:58 -0500
Started 2012-10-31 14:23:30 -0500

I just ran across some hopeful news for T1’s. Independent research is being done by Dr. Denise Faustman at Faustman Lab where it is claimed that T1 diabetes had been successfully reversed in mice back in 2001, and now this is being taken into human clinical trials.

Her theory is that our beta cells are simply suppressed by a less than optimally functioning immune system, and if those poorly functioning factors in the immune system are taken out and transplanted with healthy, then maybe normal blood sugars would result. From my limited understanding, transplant isn’t the issue, rejection is, and her work is looking into “introducing the concept of modifying antigens on donor tissues to prevent their rejection.” Sounds a lot to me like the “sleeping islet” theory.

Visit the site here for more info It appears she has an association with Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, but they are asking for funding help (I am not attempting to solicit funding, that’s your choice.)

Clinical human trials are a big deal with this type of research. It means they’ve cleared the multiple hurdles that few have ever cleared before. It is expected to be a 4 phase, 8-10 year trial. Phase 1 trials started in 2008, and phase 2 in 2011. If you so choose, you can enroll and be screened to participate in phase 2 of these trials.

I’d be interested if anyone here would consider participating.

23 replies

FriendlyGuy 2012-11-03 14:54:12 -0500 Report

The biggest problem is REJECTION..Will it cure type one diabetes completely? Hell no!

Nick1962 2012-11-03 16:37:58 -0500 Report

I'd agree, but I thought that even being on anti-rejection meds the rest of your life instead of insulin, it would be a big step forward. However, as John Crowley below clarified (thanks John), this study isn't dealing with transplantation, but modifying the immune system to stop attacking the pancreatic cells that produce insulin, hoping they'll regenerate. It is nice to see that in a world where many of us diabetics feel left out, or even worse being used as a cash cow for "big pharma", someone is taking us seriously.

Set apart
Set apart 2012-11-02 05:46:26 -0500 Report

Nick this would be great! I guess I've heard so much lately that Drs., along with pharmacies, companies who produce our much needed supplies are all getting rich from this disease, that I have to wonder if they would allow something like a CURE to go forward? Would they delay approval, etc… I would hope not!

jayabee52 2012-11-02 11:12:42 -0500 Report

If I were affected (which I am not) I would be concerned that the FDA would approve it TOO QUICKLY before it was really fully tested. Then there'd be an Avandia or Actos situation going on where there would be some relatively serious side effects from the medications used.

Plus, it would only be for t1s. Big Pharma still has us t2s to pay for meds & supplies that we need.

Nick1962 2012-11-02 11:26:21 -0500 Report

I think this therapy would spill over into the T2's to some degree. The insulin resitants, maybe the brittles too. I hate to say it though, there are still the "denyabetics" that only have themselves in the way, and just like any other bad for your health habit, therte will always be an income stream off them.

Nick1962 2012-11-02 10:45:57 -0500 Report

I hear all the conspiracy theories too, but considering diabetes is becoming a world-wide thing, and some of the countries affected simply can't afford this disease, I'd hope more would be looking into cures or reversals. I'm not holing my breath, because this just may be a trade-off between insulin and another costly medication which would still keep people dependant on "the system". I think though that most would be more than willing to trade in their needles.

IronOre 2012-10-31 15:12:11 -0500 Report

I hate to stink up your party here . . . but I have been hearing stuff like this all 37 years that I have been diabetic, and still nothing.
I guess if it makes you happy then you can think that it will happen.

Type1Lou 2012-11-02 14:26:11 -0500 Report

As diabetics, we have many more options than my Dad had in the 1950's. I was diagnosed in 1976 and have seen much progress in treatment options and diabetes management…but one of the most important factors is how we, individually approach and deal with our condition. I choose to be optimistic and follow a low-carb diet to get better, more normal numbers.

Nick1962 2012-10-31 15:31:46 -0500 Report

Oh I fully understand your skepticism, but this specific research/theory hasn't been around all that long. Kinda like who knew a simple low carb diet would be far better for control than what had been previously known as a "diabetic diet".

I know personally i am out of touch with a lot of technology and medicine, but I do see it advancing at paces far beyond those of when I was "in touch". A lot sure has changed in the last 37 years. You peed on a stick when first diagnosed, and now with the CGM's, meter testing may become obsolite.

No, it may not be a cure, but it is a step, and it sure isn't going to make things worse.

Type1Lou 2012-11-02 14:28:50 -0500 Report

Dr Richard Bernstein hit upon the low-carb approach back in the 1970's, I think…he was an engineer with Type 1 at the time and decided to go back and get his MD to gain credibility for his ideas.

Nick1962 2012-11-02 14:39:10 -0500 Report

Yeah, I trot out Bernstein anytime the low carb diet comes under fire. There were a lot of people following him at the time. I made the aquaintance of an "old hippie" on a project I had going a year back who's been on his diet since it came out. The drug use in the 60's and 70' didn't do him any favors, but he was fit!

jigsaw 2012-10-31 19:56:55 -0500 Report

It's a possibility with a potentially positive outcome ! That is how cures are found !! Positive outlook, positive action, a winning combination ! Thanks for sharing Nick, you never know !!!

IronOre 2012-10-31 19:31:17 -0500 Report

I'd be happy with simply better treatment, not necessarily a cure.
I was first diagnosed in 1974, and from then until around 1988 I was on two shots a day (animal based insulin) and I did great . . . boy, what I'd give to be on only two shots a day again !

Nick1962 2012-11-01 09:10:51 -0500 Report

Well, I guess that’s how I’m looking at it. Realistically, will it provide a full reversal or cure? Probably not. Rejection still seems to be the main issue, but if this trial proves that the treatment is possible, and a T1 has to spend the rest of their life taking anti-rejection medication versus insulin, I think that alone would be a huge relief to most.

John Crowley
John Crowley 2012-11-02 14:40:16 -0500 Report

From what I understand about Dr. Faustman's research, there is no anti-rejection medication because there is no implanting of cells. She has shown that (at least in mice) when you modify the immune system to stop attacking the pancreas cells that produce insulin, the insulin-producing cells actually spontaneously regenerate.

It's so exciting that she has proven this to be absolutely true in mice. Sadly, these things don't always translate to humans. But what I read about the phase 1 clinical trials was still quite encouraging.

I don't hold my breath waiting for a cure for my son. But I do have hope.

Thanks for sharing.

ali21 2012-10-31 14:46:12 -0500 Report

Wow!! That's amazing!!!

Nick1962 2012-10-31 14:54:57 -0500 Report

Yup, it sure is. I've been following this type of research now for a while, and hopefully it will turn out that you young'ns have a good shot at not having to get old as type 1's.

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