Dr. Jordan Lipton talks about treatment developments and answers the question: Is there a cure on the horizon?
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Type 1 diabetes treatment developments. Dr. Jordan Lipton: So, there has been a lot of work over the past several decades actually but more recently there has been a lot more attention to pancreatic and islet cell transplantation. Now, in a pancreas transplantation it's a very difficult procedure involves immunosuppression with steroids which will actually kill the insulin producing cells. So, it's not optimal but in people who fulfill some rigid criteria like requiring a kidney transplant as many doctors do or people that are just completely uncontrolled despite aggressive therapy. A pancreas transplantation has been quite successful but successful but not great. With islet cell transplantation its been again very successful. There is a protocol called the Edmonton protocol which has been used over the past several years which involves removing and separating islet cells or pancreatic beta cells from cadaveric pancreases meaning pancreases from dead people with a machine, we are moving those cells with the machine and basically treating them and then injecting them into the a large vein at the liver where they distribute to the capillaries of the liver and produce insulin and in more than 50% of cases where they use this which unfortunately does involve a lot of cadavers and organ supply short and also involves immunosuppression but a little bit easier to handle immunosuppression for the cells and in more than 50% of cases people become independent of insulin for at least one or two years. Unfortunately it needs to be repeated you know after two years because most people have little or no insulin production after that time. So, its not a long term solution. As I mentioned, the other drawbacks are that it requires immunosuppression, a little bit milder than what you use for pancreas transplantations and other transplantations but still not, it still involves immunosuppression and it also involves at least 6-8 pancreases to complete one course of one person's therapy because it's done two or three times with two or three organs and that's hard to get. Is there a cure on the horizon? Dr. Jordan Lipton: There is not a cure out there. They are working on stem cells and certainly you know stem cells are the blood cell and other more I guess genetically based cures or not really cures but treatments that with better control and hopefully fewer side effects like immunosuppression but there is no cure out there.