Islet Transplantation makes strides! Cerco Medical is successfully treating diabetic mice and they need funding to move on to large animal studies - then on to human trials... a cure could be within reach.
Months ago some of us discussed starting a fundraiser to help research along for Islet Sheet research. Here is a letter that I'm finally sending to my friends and family to start THE DRIVE FOR DISCOVERY. Please feel free to copy this into an email and send to anyone and everyone you think might be interested in joining the cause. Adapt it as you need to to your own voice and your own story, but please join me in supporting this critical research. Every little bit helps. I'm starting the drive by donating $100. Will you join me?
Dear Friends and Family.
Since being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes six years ago, I have learned more than I ever wanted to learn about insulin, diabetes, diabetes research and potential therapies and cures for Type 1.
… FIRST THINGS FIRST - INSULIN IS NOT A CURE!
Diabetes management is a full time job requiring frequent finger sticks, multiple daily insulin injections, or for some of us, a pump tethered to our bodies 24/7. Using insulin (because of the risks of hypoglycemia), requires diabetics to constantly check, adjust, manipulate, plan, and compromise. For those living with diabetes, we know that no matter how hard we try, insulin still sneaks up on us and hits when we least expect it. While it is life saving, helping us to keep our blood sugar under control, it’s NOT a cure. Hypoglycemia is potentially fatal, and for those who have had “near misses” you know first hand that this can’t be where we allow ourselves to remain.
… MANY THERAPIES BEING INVESTIGATED SEEM TO BRING OTHER PROBLEMS
Research continues steadily on monoclonal antibodies. Monoclonal antibodies attack the immune cells that attack the pancreas in Type 1 diabetes, stopping the destruction of the pancreas, allowing it to recover and produce some insulin again. However, we’ve learned from many other monoclonal antibodies currently on the market for other autoimmune disorders, that they come with a myriad of their own problems - sometimes causing other autoimmune disorders, or leaving patients susceptible to opportunistic infections. For me, this is not an acceptable method of treatment for diabetes.
And then there is a transplant… However, right now, transplants require immune suppressive medications to prevent organ rejection, also bringing their own side effects and additional risks. There are too few donors to serve all that need them, and it doesn’t address the ongoing attack on the pancreas from the faulty immune system in a Type 1 Diabetic. Eventually, the pancreas could be killed off just like the one it replaced - and then what, a second transplant? For me, this is also not an acceptable method of treatment of diabetes.
What we need is a transplant with a way to protect the islet cells from both immune rejection and immune attack, but allows them to
live, detect glucose levels, receive oxygen and nutrients, and to produce
… THE SOLUTION MAY BE RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER
I met this summer with people from both Hanuman Medical Foundation, and Cerco Medical. They have developed an Islet Sheet – a business card sized algae based polymer sheet that can encapsulate and protect islet cells – allowing glucose, nutrients and oxygen in to the islets cells, and insulin back out. Because the cells are encapsulated, the immune system can’t see them and reject them like a transplant, and it can’t kill them off like the original autoimmune attack.
THIS COULD BE A FUNCTIONAL CURE FOR DIABETES WITHIN OUR REACH
… BUT THEY NEED HELP
The Hanuman Foundation is working to raise money from private donors and investors through The Solving Diabetes Project to fund this research directly. I wish I had enough to give an endowment myself, but instead I’m starting this drive to let other people with diabetes and family members of people with diabetes know about islet sheets, and to try to raise enough money to help this project move forward.
Cerco Medical and Dr. Lakey at UC Irvine have successfully treated diabetic mice this year, and they are moving on to attempt to cure larger animals with diabetes. If they are successful, and they can prove the benefits of using the islet sheets, they could move to human trials and have a functional cure available to patients within four to five years.
While this seems like a long time, it’s really the blink of an eye. When I was diagnosed six years ago, I was sure I’d be cured by now. My nurse was told it would be 5-10 years when she was diagnosed – that was 40 years ago… I say that enough is enough, and I’m done waiting.
…EVERY LITTLE BIT HELPS – PLEASE JOIN THE DRIVE FOR DISCOVERY
You can help in two ways – either by donating to the Solving Diabetes Project by clicking the link below to reach our donor welcome page, or send this letter to anyone you think might want to join our efforts. OR, YOU CAN DO BOTH! My goal is to get this into as many inboxes as we can. I want to reach $10,000 by Christmas. It sounds like a lot – but it’s only $10 from 1,000 people, or $100 from 100 people. If you join the cause – I promise an email by Christmas to let you know how we did - Every bit helps!
Click here for information on the results from treating the mice this summer: