Juvenile (Type 1) Diabetes: The Work Is Advancing

This entry was posted by Sunday, 24 May, 2009
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by me

Juvenile diabetes is bad.
Now known as type 1 diabetes, it often starts early. And, because it shuts down the body’s ability to make insulin, its victims become totally dependent on injections.
But control of insulin is dynamic and complex. The most dedicated patient can’t compete with nature. Injected insulin is, at best, a rough approximation to natural levels. Year by year, the damage builds. Type 1’s have to worry about problems with vision, heart, and nerves as well as other organs. A tough life.
But the work is advancing.
In April, 2006, a team at Lojolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology reversed the disease in a mouse model. Their approach, combining two agents that have been tried separately in humans, seems to “teach” the immune system not to attack the new insulin-producing cells.
I will try to determine when human trials start.
AND another team, at the University of Cambridge, is already in clinical trials for an “artificial pancreas” which includes an insulin pump and a continuous glucose sensor. The current focus of the work is to perfect the control algorithm. They see the technology as a “bridge” for patients to keep them healthy till a biological cure is available.
What distinguishes Type 1 diabetes from type 2? Type 1 is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks the particular cells that produce insulin. It usually hits early in life. Type 2, on the other hand, usually starts later and is characterized by the body’s inability to utilize insulin – “insulin resistance”. There’s some debate about whether type 1 or type 2 is the least desirable. One difference: type 1 is a genetic anomaly and there’s little you can do to prevent it.


I love the story of this Miracle Rattlesnake Cure. I’ve heard SO many stories like it. Diagnosed with cancer. X months to live. Nothing to lose. Tries an unorthodox and unlikely cure and..
A nutty story, right? Is it true? Is there an unrecognized breakthrough here? Could this be a spontaneous cancer remission? A scam?
Stories like that are relevant. Scientists are fact finders. But there’s always “competition for the floor”. There are plenty of others who have an interest. Some are sincere, some are cuckoo, and some are venal. Many of them aren’t impressed by Phd’s.
So there’s a final stage to the scientific journey – one AFTER the discovery has been published and validated. There’s still the struggle for public acceptance. Science Ain’t So Bad is doing its best to help.

Many physicists are like artists. They see the beauty in the places that they “go”. But, when they return from their journeys into the secrets of nature, they often aren’t sure how to tell us what they’ve seen. Because of the “language”.
We are just us. We look at people and things and we only see people and things. With their physical intuition and mathematics, physicists see beyond and beneath. They see the underlying. We see the surface. But they never stop trying to share what they know.
Some physicists at the Large Hadron Collider in Cern, Switzerland:

One Response to “Juvenile (Type 1) Diabetes: The Work Is Advancing”

  1. Dick Pirozzolo

    I the covered Joslin summer camps for diabetic children, when I was a reporter with the Worcester Telegram and later had the opportunity to raise funds for diabetes research at the Joslin Clinic.

    Until a cure is discovered, juvenile diabetes management is a three-legged stool — diet, exercise and insulin — along with monitoring. In addition to the research being done at Boston’s own Joslin Clinic, http://www.joslin.org/ — check out the information on Joslin Camps in Massachusetts. At these boys and girls camps, children learn how to manage their diabetes while having a fun overnight camping experience: http://www.joslin.org/773_945.asp

    Dick Pirozzolo, APR

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