DRIs First Patient in Biohub Trial No Longer Requires Insulin Therapy

New Transplant Technique Restores Natural Insulin Production in Type 1 Diabetes
MIAMI, FL – September 9, 2015 – The Diabetes Research Institute
(DRI), a Center of Excellence at the University of Miami Miller School
of Medicine, announced today that the first patient in its clinical
trial has been free from insulin injections in record time following the
implantation of islet cells within a biological scaffold. The patient,
Wendy Peacock, 43, from San Antonio, TX, underwent the minimally
invasive procedure on August 18, 2015, and is now producing her own
insulin naturally for the first time since being diagnosed with type 1
diabetes at age 17. In this pilot study, DRI researchers are testing a
new transplant technique for insulin-producing cells, building upon
decades of progress in clinical islet transplantation. This trial is an
important first step toward the development of the DRI BioHub,
a bioengineered mini-organ that mimics the native pancreas to restore
natural insulin production in people with type 1 diabetes.

read the full article here:


Are anti-rejection meds being taken?

From the linked story:

This pilot trial will include the immunosuppressive regimen currently used for clinical islet transplantation studies and will be limited to a small group of participants.

Decided to stop being lazy and read the article… Yes, the recipient is on immunosuppression therapy. Bummer.

I’m trying to remain positive by viewing this as an early step toward successful islet cell transplantation without the need for immunosuppressant medication(s)…

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@rgcainmd, that’s the ultimate goal. The woman receiving the Biohub was having severe hypo unawareness, that was one reason she was chosen.

Wendy Peacock is a 43 year old T1D living with diabetes since she was 17. Here’s her statement:

As any type 1 knows, you live on a very structured schedule. I do a mental checklist every day in my head…glucose tabs, food, glucometer, etc., and then I stop and say, ‘WOW! I don’t have to plan that anymore.’ Laying down at night and going to sleep and not having to worry about lows is something that is so foreign to me. It’s surreal to me…I’m still processing the fact that I’m not taking insulin anymore," said Peacock, who was a candidate for the DRI’s clinical trial because she suffered with severe hypoglycemia unawareness, a complication of diabetes in which patients are unable to sense that their blood glucose is dropping to dangerously low levels. People with hypoglycemia unawareness often become disoriented, lose consciousness or go into convulsions. It may even lead to death.

This is the aspect that blows me away. Twenty six years–or in my case, just shy of thirty two years–with this stuff in your head all day long, minute by minute, year after year, the concept of it being suddenly just… gone …is almost unimaginable. Closest thing I’ve experienced was going on MDI after 20 years R/NPH. Took a couple of weeks before I really accepted my shackles had been removed. But this would be, well, almost unimaginable.

Don’t like the anti-rejection drug part either. Though I guess I won’t have to worry about it any time soon.

DRI leapfrogs over the AP! WOW!

Now if they can come up with a way to eliminate the anti-rejection drugs …

@DrBB - yes, the idea that I could free my mind from constantly thinking about the diabetic whats, whens, how muches(?), how longs, etc is hard to grasp.

Good to see an organization supporting research that could lead to drug independence! Brenda Novak, the author whose Diabetes auction I have long supported told me that after a lot of research she concluded that DRI was the only group where donated money might actually lead to real cures. She has raised several million for them with the help of the Romance writer and reader communities.

Though the cells in this case are foreign, hence the need for the immunosurpressive drugs, the technique they are using for implantation could possibly someday be applied to your own cells, tweaked in some way to protect against immune attack and then grown in culture. Lots of people with Type 1 still have a small reserve of beta cells. Or they may be able to take stem cells and push them into becoming beta cells. I believe this technology is already developed.

For now they have taken a huge step in validating that their noninvasive implantation technique works.

I’ve reached out to Dr. Ricordi, at DRI, with an invitation to join us for a live interview about this progress. Keep your eyes on our upcoming events page!


That would be a good “get,” Emily!

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What an amazing thing this would be. I can barely imagine the sense of freedom to just wake up in the morning and not care about diabetes all day, have it not even cross your mind except maybe as a distant memory-- filed away in the same part of your brain that stores things like what your childhood house was like… Never at the forefront again. I hope it happens for all of us someday.


I’ve thought before about how much extra time (and brain power) I’d have without diabetes. I’m also pretty sure I might have more energy from not experiencing highs and lows and getting better quality sleep. It would be quite liberating. I’ve never experienced adult life without worrying about and managing diabetes.

I don’t often get excited about cures. After 24 years, I got tired of hearing about them constantly only to have them never materialize. But, sometimes, I allow myself to hope just a bit.


Seconded. I feel very much the same after 32.

My sister and I are both hopefull that one day no immunosuppression will be required, but it still is great progress. It is nice to know that scientists are working on this.

Hope is a wonderful thing!

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I’m wondering if this will last. I couldn’t even imagine being cured of you T1D for a few months, a year, and then being diabetic again. I’m been at this for 26 years, since I was 11 months old, I try to hope for a cure, but I don’t feel that there will ever be one.

Now that I am over the first blush of excitement, I do have to wonder how long this “cure” will last; will the immunosuppressants prevent the attack on the beta cells while holding the rejection response at bay? When the folks @ DRI get to the point where no immunosuppressants are needed, what about preventing beta cell destruction?

Also, there are a whole host of other questions, like will this BioHub be something for every T1D? What about sourcing of beta cells - only from donors, or will stem cell therapy be involved?

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I’m sure the researchers are thinking about all this stuff of course but this touches on the wariness theme a lot of us feel. I can only speak for myself of course, but for me it’s borne not so much of skepticism toward the researchers but toward the media, which tend to jump all over anything they can call a breakthrough and then off they go to the next bright shiny thing. Meanwhile the hard slog of testing and setbacks goes on and doesn’t get covered and a year or six later and we’re left with “Gee, remember that promising new therapy they were talking about–wonder what ever happened with that.” So in a way the resistance isn’t so much toward being hopeful as not wanting to dance the happy dance like marionettes just because the headline writers are yanking those strings again.

[On edit: this is intended as a reply to @YogaO but Discourse is being weird and doesn’t seem to have marked it that way, at least in the view I’m seeing].


I completely agree that the media loves the breaking news dichotomous simple thinking coverage of things deserving a bit more complexity and nuance. The implication is that we’re idiots with the attention span of a two year old. (I mean no offense to toddlers!)

The media defends itself with saying that that’s what we readers want. I’m sorry to concede that I see at least some partial truth in their defense. Our collective ability to think critically has degraded in my lifetime. Look at our public education philosphy that sees nothing wrong with “teaching” to the standardized test!

It seems there’s too many people unable think beyond the clever 140 character tweet.

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