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Hope for Diabetes Cure

Posted on November 14, 2019 | No Comments on Hope for Diabetes Cure

It is widely regarded that diabetes is an incurable disease but that hasn’t stopped doctors from seeking out a cure for it. In that regard, the Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey in collaboration with one of the world’s leading researchers for diabetes recently announced that they are optimistic about a breakthrough procedure they discovered that can possibly cure diabetes.

Dr. Camillo Ricordi, a pioneer in the field of diabetes and the scientific director and Chief Academy Officer of the University of Miami Diabetes Research Institute with the help of the hospital will be the first to try a procedure on humans that is currently being tested on monkeys in Florida. “Dr. Ricordi wants to find a cure for diabetes, and he doesn’t care how many people are involved in the process or share in the credit,” said Dr. Michael Shapiro, Hackensack’s chief of organ transplantation and leader of the diabetes partnership. “This collaboration will do great things for diabetes research.”

Typical treatment for diabetic patients includes insulin pumps,injections, and oral medications. This new procedure will involve transplanting islets from deceased donors to the patient. Islets are the cells from the pancreas that produce insulin. The immune system of type 1 diabetes patients destroy these islets while for those with type 2, it declines and deteriorates with age as their body cannot utilize it properly.

Transplanting islets from deceased donors is sometimes effective, but it frequently triggers other complications because the islets need to be implanted in the liver. In Dr Ricordi’s procedure however, the islets are loaded into a disc which is then implanted in the abdomen instead of in the liver.

“The challenge is we’re dealing with an autoimmune disease so we have to replace or get cells to regenerate that were destroyed,” Ricordi told dozens of HUMC executives, physicians, and health care workers in April. “And the key is to do this without a lifelong regimen of autoimmune rejection drugs.”

Their success with primates makes them very positive about this new procedure. Dr. Shapiro is hoping to have four patients undergo the procedure in early 2012. Their ideal patients would be those who are not responding to other treatments though they have not yet begun recruiting anyone yet. Critical for a transplant is to be able to efficiently separate islets from the pancreas. But successfully transplanting the islets will only be part one of the cure.

Given the rising prevalence of diabetes however, one hindrance they have to face is the fact that the number of organ donors falls way short of the number of diabetics who would benefit from a transplant. Researchers need to figure out how to create islets in the lab so there will be enough to treat all diabetes patients who need them. Another research team is working on that endeavor in the Miami institute. Nonetheless, doctors and patients alike are hopeful about this. “If this isn’t a cure, it sounds like it’s a better treatment before a cure is found,” comments Stephanie Stone, a diabetes patient for eight years who was present during the official announcement for the procedure.

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