At one time I believed that islet translation would lead to a therapeutic treatment and cure for Type 1 diabetes. Presentations by noted surgeons and their endocrinologist partners were hopeful and suggested that short-term trials were highly successful.
However, long term observations seem to have revealed two key factors: (1) the effectiveness of the transplanted cells diminishes through time and (2) their are risk factors associated with the immunosuppression drugs.
Consider the summary from a recent British Medical Journal Commentary:
Islet of Langerhans transplantation is used in a select group of patients with type 1 diabetes with severe glycaemic lability, recurrent hypoglycaemia, and hypoglycaemia unawareness
The procedure is minimally invasive, with few procedure related complications
Two to three islet infusions are usually needed to achieve insulin independence
Most patients need insulin by five years post-transplantation owing to declining graft function; beneficial effects on the frequency of hypoglycaemic episodes and hypoglycaemia awareness remain
Most long term complications are related to systemic immunosuppression
The risk-benefit ratio of islet transplantation should be carefully weighed by the treating physician and the potential recipient, who should be given adequate information
As I understand it, the target population as those individuals with Type 1 Diabetes who are unable to achieve satisfactory (safe) results with conventional therapy. So, islet transplantation is not (yet) the holy grail many of us had hope but it is never-the-less beneficial for some individuals.
This is fairly significant news…. gastric bypass does help lose weight and treat diabetes (more here):
Well- who is a candidate for these procedures? Usually patients with a BMI of over 40 or over 35 with health consequences that are obesity related. Does gastric bypass have any effect on diabetes? In a series of 1000 patients, 150 of whom had diabetes, 83% experienced resolution of their diabetes (defined by a normalization of A1c and coming of medications for diabetes) after the surgery
However, there now appears to be additional benefits:
A new report from the Journal of the American College of Cardiology reports that patients who had received gastric bypass surgery not only lost weight but had maintained healthier cardiac health, while also reducing previous cardiac complications spurred by obesity.
Often times when a patient is obese, an increase in the largest portion of the heart, the left ventricle can become larger in mass causing the heart to work harder to pump blood into the body. According to the study, echocardiograms, or ultrasounds of the heart showed a remodeling of the heart structure which included a reduction of left ventricular mass and right ventricular cavity area in patients that had received Gastric Bypass Surgery, a procedure Texas Bariatric Specialists performs.
“Patients now have another reason to add to their check-off list of the benefits of a gastric bypass. Why would anyone severely obese wait any longer when the health risks are too high,” says Texas Bariatric Specialists founder Dr. Nilesh A Patel.
A gastric bypass is a bariatric procedure that is the single largest contributor to these findings and is offered at Texas Bariatric Specialists. In the Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery procedure, the surgeon makes a small stomach pouch at the top of the stomach, the pouch is later connected to the small intestine bypassing the larger stomach. The gastric bypass can result in complete resolution in type 2 diabetes, hypertension, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and the loss of 65 percent of excess body fat.
Source: press release
The FDA has approved Tykerb (lapatinib), a new targeted anti-cancer treatment that is significantly more effective than current medicines in fighting advanced stage of breast cancer, for use in combination with capectabine (Xeloda), another cancer drug, for patients with advanced, metastatic breast cancer that is HER2 positive (tumors that exhibit HER2 protein): The combination treatment is indicated for women who have received prior therapy with other cancer drugs, including an anthracycline, a taxane, and trastuzumab (Herceptin). According to the American Cancer Society, about 180,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed each year. Approximately 8,000 to 10,000 women die from metastatic HER2 positive breast cancer each year.
more at Hyscience
A double blinded study, published in Diabetes Technology and Therapeutics, reports that glycaemic control can be improved through Chromium picolinate /biotin supplementation:
The study looked at the effect of the commercially available Diachrome supplement (Nutrition 21) on the glycaemic control and blood lipids of 36 overweight or obese people with type 2 diabetes.
Writing in the journal Diabetes Technology and Therapeutics, lead author Gregory Singer said: “This pilot study demonstrates that supplementation with a combination of chromium picolinate and biotin in poorly controlled patients with diabetes receiving antidiabetic therapy improved glucose management and several lipid measurements.”
“Chromium picolinate /biotin supplementation may represent an effectuive adjunctive nutritional therapy to people with poorly controlled diabetes with the potential for improving lipid metabolism
Source: Diabetes Technology and Therapeutics
Volume 8, Number 6, Pages 636-643
“The effect of chromium picolinate and biotin supplementation on glycaemic control in poorly controlled patients with type-2 diabetes mellitus: a placebo-controlled, double-blinded, randomized trial”
Authors: G.M. Singer, J. Geohas
The results also showed a significantly greater reduction in the total area under the curve for glucose (AUCg) during the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) for the treatment group (mean change -9.7%) compared with the placebo group (mean change +5.1%).
No, I’m not talking about a medieval legend and I’m not going to use the “c-word”. However, three groups of scientists report that they independently replicated a controversial finding: severely diabetic mice can recover on their own if researchers squelch an immune system attack that is causing the disease. This is an important finding published here by the New York Times.
It is a discovery that was first published in 2001 and raised the hopes of people with Type 1 diabetes, which usually occurs in puberty and afflicts an estimated half-million to a million Americans. If the findings applied to humans, they might mean reversing a disease that had seemed incurable.
Even better, the potential treatment is not based on embryonic stem cell research, a controversial (and unproven) medical technology that involves the destruction of human life:The findings also gave rise to questions about using embryonic stem cells as replacement cells for diabetics, a method that is the focus of intense interest. If it is possible, in mice, for the pancreas to cure itself, and if the same finding holds true in humans — which, so far, is entirely unknown — adding embryonic stem cells as the source of new pancreas cells might provide little added benefit, if any.
The investigators of the reported study treated diabetic mice by injecting them with Freund’s Complete Adjuvant, a mixture of water, oil and parts of dead bacteria. It overstimulates the immune system cells that are attacking the pancreas, making those white blood cells self-destruct, effectively stopping the attack and allowing the pancreas to cure itself.
Dr. John Buse, director of the Diabetes Care Center at the University of North Carolina, urged caution.
“There are two possibilities,” Dr. Buse said. “This treatment works for mice but no derivation of it will ever work for humans. Or this is the paradigm leap that is necessary to find the cure for Type 1 diabetes.”
Of course, all the convential disclaimers apply – years away, etc.. However, if billions are being spent on embryonic stem cell research on the basis of speculation, what kind of resources should be put behind this technology with provides hope based on substance?
Individuals with diabetes should aggressively reduce their cholesterol levels and seek intensive statin therapy even if their levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is within the normal range, according to the American Diabetes Association.
The ADA recommendations state that diabetics who are older than 40 years of age whose total cholesterol exceeds 3.5 mmol/L (135 mg/dL) should be placed on statin therapy to achieve a 30% to 40% reduction in LDL level, regardless of their baseline LDL level and even if they do not have overt cardiovascular disease.
In the Pravastatin or Atorvastatin Evaluation and Infection Therapy-Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction (PROVE-IT) study, treatment with atorvastatin 80 mg/day lowered LDL cholesterol levels to a median of 1.6 mmol/L (62 mg/dL) in diabetics and nondiabetics alike, compared to 2.5 mmol/L (97 mg/dL) with the standard pravastatin40-mg regimen.
Among patients taking atorvastatin, the hazard ratio for a cardiovascular event was 16% less than it was for patients on pravastatin after the mean follow-up period of 24 months, a significant difference (Cannon C. et al. N Engl J Med 2004;350:1495-1504).
more from Diabetes in Control
Patients with Type 2 diabetes who also suffer from obstructive sleep apnea can lower their glucose levels by receiving the most common sleep apnea therapy.
Dr. James Herdegen, associate professor of medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago and medical director of the UIC Center for Sleep and Ventilatory Disorders, and his co-authors measured glucose levels of participants before and after continuous positive airway pressure therapy, or CPAP.