Article regarding a possible cure for diabetes but pharmaceutical companies are road blocking further studies for the CURE!

By Ianike Latest Reply 2009-09-08 08:22:57 -0500
Started 2009-09-07 02:23:00 -0500

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Scientist Revives ResearchBy Danny Ash

Published Friday 23 January 2009 03:03am EST.

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Twelve years ago, Irving Weissman discovered a treatment that might have saved the lives of thousands of women with advanced breast cancer, but pharmaceutical companies weren’t interested in developing the therapy. Though that interest is finally being reignited, Weissman doesn’t pull any punches. “I hate to say I told you so,” he said.

Weissman, a professor of pathology and developmental biology at Stanford University, spoke Wednesday and Thursday as part of the Columbia University Department of Religion’s Bampton Lecture series. The lecture series is modeled after a centuries-old Oxford series of the same name, and invites famous authorities in their respective fields to give talks on various issues of interest to the religious community.

In Wednesday’s lecture, Weissman laid out the conceptual foundation of his work—that stem cells are rare, self-renewing, and can regenerate body tissues. Weissman repeatedly expressed frustration that while many of his discoveries seemed to hold remarkable potential for life-saving treatments, commercial or regulatory hurdles have prevented his scientific research from benefiting human beings.

One example is Weissman’s mid-’90s research on type I diabetes, in which he demonstrated the ability to fully cure type I diabetes in mice using stem cells. But even though the experiments avoided political controversy by using so-called adult stem cells, which do not come from embryos, Weissman ran into a road block when pharmaceutical companies refused to sponsor clinical trials. The therapy went nowhere. Weissman implied that the pharmaceutical companies had put profit over principle, preferring to keep diabetes sufferers dependent on costly insulin than to cure them once and for all.

“He [Weissman] has a long history of being at the forefront of his field,” Arthur Palmer, professor of structural biology at Columbia said, remarking that Weissman has never been afraid to challenge scientific orthodoxy.

One example of this iconoclastic streak is Weissman’s outspoken disagreement with recent reports that adult stem cells can be “reprogrammed,” obliviating the need for the more powerful embryonic stem cells.

Weissman geared his presentation to a lay audience, only occasionally drifting into jargon. Jaffer Kolb, who was visiting his sister at Columbia, enjoyed Weissman’s talk. “I have no science background,” he said, “so I was afraid I would have a hard time. But it was really easy to follow.”

The presentation left some audience members with questions. Susan Doubileg, a Columbia alumna, wondered if Weissman’s results were as conclusive as presented. “If they were so useful, why weren’t they picked up in other countries?” she asked, referring to Europe’s less restrictive stem cell regulations. Nonetheless, Palmer cautioned against dismissing Weissman’s research. “He’s been right a lot in the past,” he said.

Weissman’s final two lectures are scheduled for Jan. 27 and Jan. 29, from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. in IAB 1501.

5 replies

kdroberts 2009-09-07 13:34:32 -0500 Report

That's just bogus. There is a massive amount of research going on regarding stem cells and diabetes, to the point where they have been trialling it in type 1 patients. There has been for years both in the US and many other countries. The problem is that the treatment does work but only for a limited time, hours in some patients, before the autoimmune attack destroys the stem cells that were implanted. Mice and humans are very different.

There are so many reasons why it's ludicrous to even think that drug companies are covering up a cure for these illnesses or even trying to stop one from being developed. I'm not a believer that a significant amount of money will be lost if a cure is found. Or that there is "a cure" since there are so many different forms of diabetes that the underlying cause of all of them is still unknown.

Harlen 2009-09-07 22:32:59 -0500 Report

You may think it is ludicrous
But take a look at whats going on right now in your goverment right now.
look what there making off us
how much can you make off a cure ???
every month I send 1,000.00 and more on my meds If there was a cure do you think I would spend 100,000.00 to get a cure
Can they even chareg that much?
they make it off me in 7 years
The US is driven buy gread the rich will get richer and richer and the rest will get nothing thats just the way it is.
May be I am just gaded I have seen so much and done so much. I hope you are right and I am rong good god I hope so
Keep hoping

kdroberts 2009-09-08 08:22:57 -0500 Report

You are assuming that there will be one cure and it will be as simple as taking a shot or a pill and that once it's taken no one else will need it.

Just take the US, there are about 25 million diagnosed diabetics and an estimated 15 or so undiagnosed. So take that at a conservative estimate of 30 million total. If a cure was found for all and it was charged at the reasonable price of $1000, that's $30 billion in the US alone right now. Since it's not a vaccine there will be an ongoing need for it and it seems to be growing about 1 million a year so an income of $1 billion a year. Keep in mind that that's just the US. There are well over 50 million diabetics in China, another 40-50 in India and millions in many other countries. All are growing about the same rate. So, if you take the US, India and China you have a conservative market right now of about $1.3 trillion with another $3 billion per year. That's 3 countries. In reality you would probably be looking at closer to $10-25 trillion market now and $10-25 billion a year. What drug companies earn from a single drug now pales in comparison to that. Plus, there are so many other conditions that drugs can be developed for that even if they make nothing for a cure there will always be something to take the place of diabetes drugs.

The reason there is not a cure is that you can't cure something when you don't know the cause.

Harlen 2009-09-07 10:27:37 -0500 Report

In the USA we look for ways to manage med problems not fix them theres no riches in a CURE only in maintaning the problems is the big money madde

kdroberts 2009-09-07 13:36:31 -0500 Report

I would really like to see proof of this because I hear it so often. However, the more I look the less I find to the point where I think there is a lot of money to be made from a cure and there will still be an ongoing need for treatment and more cures to be developed. And that money will be more than is made currently.

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