From Pennsylvania, USA:
What is your opinion regarding the time frame for a cure for type 1 diabetes? Are you confident it will happen? I hear seven to ten years approximate? Only six months into the game, many other experienced moms tell me they are tired of hearing "another five years". Additionally, I read a very concerning article in a magazine dedicated to diabetes which suggested intentional avoidance of a cure due to the billions of dollars generated and dedicated to "cure" and "treat" diabetes.
Considerable resources are being devoted currently to finding a 'cure' for diabetes, and broadly speaking, these are indeed divided between the pharmaceutical industry and academic research units. The former have been making major contributions in the way of new insulins such as Lantus (insulin glargine) and Humalog, in new devices for measuring blood glucose and into ways of combining these safely with insulin pumps which would in itself be a cure of a sort.
Academic research has been more concerned with understanding the extraordinary complexity of both autoimmunity along with insulin resistance and applying this to clinical care in practical ways like islet cell transplantation which already offers a cure, albeit only to a very small number.
I personally do not believe that the inference that there is any holding back on developing a cure could be substantiated. In any case, there is no shortage whatsoever of other challenges.
[Editor's comment: As Dr. O'Brien hints, the time it will take to find a "cure" depends on what you consider a "cure" to be -- some people with type 1 diabetes who have received islet cell transplants have been insulin-free for over a year, so in a sense, the cure is here already. But, for people with a family history of type 2 diabetes, the chances to avoid or delay diabetes is highly dependent on lifestyle changes, meal planning, and luck, so it's hard to say whether "prevention" or "delay" (or cure?) of type 2 diabetes is possible at this time (see the Diabetes Prevention Program for information about the study that showed type 2 diabetes can be delayed). WWQ]
Original posting 9 Oct 2003
Posted to Research: Cure
Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:50
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