Top stories today, in my world:
1) "Stell Cell Breakthrough Helps 85% of Type 2 Diabetes Patients." In a very exciting initial study in Argentina, implanted stem cells did just what researchers hoped they would do: they appeared to regenerate the destroyed Islet Beta Cells in the pateints' pancreas. The patients were able to get off their various diabetes drugs, and the procedure went off without a single complication.
Very promising stuff. Now remember, this study was conducted on just 16 patients, so 85% would be 13 happy diabetics. Whether this will translate into success for millions remains to be seen.
The Medical News Today staff certainly thinks so: "According to some American researchers and diabetologists, this is the most important step toward the cure of diabetes since 1929, when Drs. Banting and Best discovered Insulin." Why do I just feel like I've heard that before?!
2) The Washington Post reports on "Divided Loyalties" of patient advocacy groups like the ADA. The premise is that these large, established organizations may answer more to their financial supporters and advertisers than to their patient communities. The ADA site, for example, offers very little in terms of alarms about drug safety; you won't learn the negatives from them. But does this make the organization unethical?
Funny you should ask, since I am quoted in the story. Some weeks ago, I talked to the reporter at length about this concept, and I stand by my conviction that the ADA and groups like it are extremely valuable to the patient community. They are our advocates for improved government policy, fair treatment in the workplace, and much more. They offer LOADS of worthwhile information, publish important books and organize successful fund-raising campaigns around the country. We need them. We appreciate them.
But do they act as ombudsmen for us? I don't think so. And I for one really don't know where to turn for this service, if needed. I guess we remain on our own if we have concerns about drug safety or a bone to pick with a pharma company's policies or marketing. Unless you care to hire a lawyer.