Will we see a cure or will Pharmaceutical companies see it as lost profit?

I have been diabetic for a while now and true to it’s nature it slowly has been getting the best of me. A few years ago I came across an article which gave me a glimmer of hope. The article stated that a Brazilian Stem Cell research company had made great strides in finding a cure. One patient was “Non Diabetic” for four years. The study was funded in part by Genzyme Corp. and Johnson & Johnson-Life Scan Brazil.Since then I have heard nothing about it. It makes me wonder why. Is it like the 300 mpg. carburetor that vanished supposedly bought up by some oil company? I will try to post this story in text . Tell me what you think, has anyone else heard any news like this?

Diabetes Treatment Wednesday, 15 April 2009 11:26

Source: Forbes

In small study, most of patients got temporary reprieve from daily injections

TUESDAY, April 14 (HealthDay News) – A particular type of stem cell transplantation using the patient’s own cells led to short-term freedom from insulin injections in 20 of 23 patients newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes participating in an experimental protocol in Brazil.

One patient even managed to go four years without needing outside sources of insulin, although the average was 31 months, said the authors of a report in the April 15 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, a themed issue on diabetes.

The patients also kept their blood sugar under control, which is key to preventing complications from diabetes. And, the authors stated, increased C-peptide levels indicated that the pancreas’ beta cells were alive and well.

“We were trying to preserve islet beta cell mass, that is, the cells that produce insulin, by stopping the immune system attack on these cells,” said senior study author Dr. Richard Burt, of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. "Why new onset? Because we wanted to make sure there were still some islets there. We don’t believe stem cells form islet cells, but if the islet cells are still there, there might be regeneration if we stop the attack soon enough."

The technique may not prove effective in patients with longstanding disease, warned Weimin He, an assistant professor at the Center for Environmental and Genetic Medicine at Texas A&M Health Science Center Institute of Biosciences and Technology.

Beta cells secrete insulin, the hormone which is critical in moving and storing blood sugar and, thus, maintaining stable blood-sugar levels. In type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disorder, the patient’s body attacks its own beta cells.

Restoring the body’s innate ability to produce insulin has been the holy grail of diabetes research. Some patients have received transplantations of insulin-producing cells from a donor, but none have remained free of exogenous (outside) insulin for longer than five years, said Dr. Spyros Mezitis, an endocrinologist with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. This was because the body eventually started attacking those cells as well.

The current approach is more hopeful, because it involves the patient’s own stem cells, not only bypassing the possibility of rejection but also allowing, theoretically, an unlimited number of future cells to be produced, he said.

A 2007 study by the same group of researchers had found that autologous (using the patients’ own stem cells) nonmyeloablative hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) allowed type 1 diabetes patients to revert to not using outside insulin, at least for a time.

“That was the first time in history we achieved normal blood sugar and A1c levels and were drug-free after one intervention,” Burt said. “Otherwise, patients are stuck on insulin or islet transplant, but they still have to be on intensive immune suppression. On this treatment, they’re on nothing. But the criticism was that maybe this insulin independence was a freak prolonged honeymoon period.”

“It takes time for the body to attack and break down the insulin-producing cells,” explained Mezitis. "So the cells continue producing insulin, then, as the body attacks the cells, they die out."

In this latest report, the authors found beta-cell improvements in 23 patients, aged 13 to 31, who were recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

All participants underwent HSCT, which involved removing the patient’s own blood stem cells then reinjecting them into the body.

Twenty patients were able to stop injecting insulin, 12 of them for a mean of 31 months. Eight patients had to start taking insulin again at a low dose.

Not only were blood sugar levels normalized among those individuals who no longer needed outside insulin or needed less outside insulin; C-peptide levels rose significantly.

In other words, the beta cells seemed to be working, at least partially. There were some side effects noted, but no deaths among the participant group.

The study was funded in part by Genzyme Corp. and Johnson & Johnson-LifeScanBrazil.

It is my opinion that we will not see anything like this in our lifetime. I agree we are probably achingly close, and future generations may have it much easier,

“But this is a thing more ardently to be wished than seriously to be expected.”

I know the part that is exciting is that they achieved normal blood sugar and A1c levels and were drug-free after one intervention. Just by sharing these things and making them public kind of forces their hands .

A similar project was carried out in Perth Australia about 15 years ago. The difference was that it was liver cells that were harvested, engineered to produce insulin & reinfused. The success rates for not needing exogenous insulin were in the 85-90% range after a year. I heard about it on a science programme on the BBC, so it was not an wild internet theory. I looked into it myself & found the paper. What I could not find were any further developments. It turned out, after a lot of digging, that one of the big pharmaceutical companies had threatened to withdraw all the funding to the university if the project was not dropped. Do you really think Big Pharma would allow a cure to be developed for one of the most profitable conditions there is? Call me a paranoid cynic if you like. Then work out how much is spent on a diabolic’s treatment over a year & tell me a cure wouldn’t threaten their profit margins & thus attempt to be quashed.

It’s rather sad that our world has been hijacked and is now ruled by special interests… or to be exact, a few families who at some point took over the world.

I don’t know much about the details of this, but we sure have been forking over a bigger sum of dough lately for my wife’s medications, even after insurance. I know the insurance coverage is responsible for most of the increase, but the stuff costs plenty to start with.

I have been sporadic lately; are there some discussions about avandia and the stroke link to it around?

The companies might not have morals, but individual researchers do. In this case (diabetes type 1), I dont think $ is inhibiting a cure other than the lack of money being used for it, not the possible loss of profits. DM 2 makes the most profit and it’s prevalence in the population is growing. Stem cell research is not cheap and until recently could only be privately funded. This painful, dangerous procedure if ever found to work and be easier would be expensive and patented (probably, right?) so they would still make a ton of money. Our immune system/endocrine systems are tricky and the neccessity to use humans in the experiments will keep progress slow (good, dont want someone else risking their health for me). This reminds me of the big story in Germany where the HIV positive patient was “cured.” Not only were his circumstances special (cancer), he went through numerous dangerous and painful procedures with bone marrow transplants, etc. A glimmer of hope is great, but unrealistic ideas of a cure can be harmful.

I have hope for future generations BUT I would love to know what virus makes this happen in order to PREVENT it.

Um, maybe if we got the government to lift the ban on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research in the US we would see this. The treatment is cheap and has to be redone every so often so a big-pharma company who patents the treatment would make significantly more than supplying insulin (which BTW has a REALLY low profit margin). A stem cell treatment would bring in a lot more money than MDI or pump therapy. But no one wants aborted fetuses to go to good use. So kiss that treatment goodbye.

I don’t see it happening in my lifetime (the cure) but maybe my oldest lifetime (I hope) I most definalt hope they find the cure in my g-kids lifetime.

clinical trials are still ongoing

this is recruiting:

lot more research is necessary:

One of the co-authors of the research study, Dr. Richard Burt of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said that while the side effects of the stem cell treatment on type 1 diabetes patients are quite serious, the encouraging sign is that the methodology is less toxic compared to other immune-system therapies being provided to cancer patients.

The scientists also added that the stem cell treatment option may not work for individuals who have diabetes for such a long time and are no longer capable of producing pancreatic beta cells. They further stressed that the next step in the research to find out if indeed stem cells cure type 1 diabetes is to do a large and random trial on patients newly diagnosed with diabetes type 1 whose pancreas can still produce insulin

federal money can go into embyroinic stem reserach just can’t create new lines of cells

from wikipedia
On March 9, 2009, President Obama removed the restriction on federal funding for newer stem cell lines. [46] Two days after Obama removed the restriction, the President then signed the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009, which still contained the long-standing Dickey-Wicker provision which bans federal funding of “research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death;”[47] the Congressional provision effectively prevents federal funding being used to create new stem cell lines by many of the known methods. So, while scientists might not be free to create new lines with federal funding, President Obama’s policy allows the potential of applying for such funding into research involving the hundreds of existing stem cell lines as well as any further lines created using private funds or state-level funding. The ability to apply for federal funding for stem cell lines created in the private sector is a significant expansion of options over the limits imposed by President Bush, who restricted funding to the 21 viable stem cell lines that were created before he announced his decision in 2001.[48]

That part about low profit margin on insulin is interesting; that of course in a big expense. I have no reason to dispute you on that. I would guess then there is a much higher profit margin on drugs like the Janumet my wife takes.