December 13, 2011

@JDRF New Research #TwoBits

JDRF announced two research initiatives today. The first is a study of seeking to Reduce Cardiovascular Risk in Adults with Type 1 Diabetes. From the release:

New York, NY, December  13, 2011-JDRF-funded researchers have begun enrolling adult patients with type 1 diabetes (T1D) in the REMOVAL study, to test whether metformin-a drug commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes-could help prevent or reduce the risk of cardiovascular complications in people with T1D. 
The REMOVAL study (Reducing with MetfOrmin Vascular Adverse Lesions in T1D) is a multi-center, international trial that will study 500 patients with T1D aged 40 or older, a patient group known to be at higher risk for cardiovascular disease, one of the leading causes of death associated with diabetes. A study from the United Kingdom has shown that people with T1D aged over 40 are at much higher risk for cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke.
The second is in conjunction with the firm ViaCyte and looks at Encapsulated Beta Cell Replacement Therapy for Diabetes. (This look like an IDDP but my reading of the release is not clear. I will see if I can get confirmation.) Yes it is in fact an IDDP* From the Release:
Existing cell therapies such as islet and pancreas transplantation have the potential to cure T1D by restoring normal islet function and normalizing blood glucose levels in people with T1D. Because the number of cadaveric human donors for pancreatic islets is limited, ViaCyte’s program will provide a replenishable supply of functional insulin-producing cells. Furthermore, packaging the cells in a device (“encapsulation”) creates a physical barrier around the cells and has the potential to protect the transplanted cells from immune rejection, and may eliminate the need for chronic immunosuppressive drugs. The ultimate goal of this partnership is to help patients with T1D restore their ability to regulate blood glucose, thereby reducing or eliminating the need for constant self-management and administration of insulin.
The three-year series of preclinical studies being co-funded by JDRF will help ViaCyte prepare the information necessary to apply for regulatory approvals to study the system for safety and efficacy in people with T1D.
For more see JDRF's New Room online.

Why these matter:

Most folks living with type 1 are adults. Our first goal as parents of T1D kids is to have the grow to be T1D adults pursuing their lives interest. I have heard the figure tossed around that 85% of T1Ds are adults, seems about right. So it only makes sense to study how to keep T1D adults health.

Cure can mean a lot of different things to different people. To me, in the broadest sense it is to return the biological production of insulin. That may or may not include turing off the autoimmune response that killed off the beta cells in the first place and from the little (very little) I know of how immunity works that is no small think. Encapsulation get around that problem with magic star tech like shields that protect the Starship Insulin-producing-cell from attack by evil T cells. ... or something like that. Getting beta cells is no easy matter either. This project addresses both the shield and production of beta cells form stem cells. May the Force be with you, wait wrong sci-fi flick but you get the point and the point is Live Long and Prosper.

*For some background on IDDP you can see earlier post in YDMV.

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