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Where is the cure?


Recently, within the past year or so, there was a news article about a recent finding scientists had made, which could in future affect the course of Type 1 diabetes. If you recall, Type 1 diabetes is a disease where the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas are destroyed, and as a result, the individual no longer has any insulin to take care of blood sugars in his/her body.{{more}} This recent discovery, made in test mice, showed that they could make more of the cells needed to make insulin. This is, of course, a long way off from humans, who will not even be tested for another several years from now.

While exciting, especially in regard to treatment of Type 1 diabetes, which remains quite challenging, I take care to view these newsbreaks with caution. Many patients of mine come in every week asking about new developments in the treatment of diabetes. It is especially important in the lives of my patients with Type 1 diabetes, given that they are committed to life-long insulin administration. With this in mind I wanted to make a few points this week:

Firstly, there is no publicly available cure for Type 1 diabetes as yet, outside of either a transplant with a whole pancreas gland or a pancreas cell transplant. By CURE I mean that the disease is truly gone, and no medication is needed to control blood sugars. There is a device known as the “artificial pancreas,” which has been made in various formats, all generally involving a device containing insulin which is then implanted into the body. It has been tried on a research basis, but is NOT available for general public use.

Secondly, going along with the first point, please be VERY AWARE AND SKEPTICAL whenever you read about cures for Type 1 diabetes. There are all sorts of gimmicks and cheats on the Internet and the street, all willing to take your money and run, in return for giving you hope of cure. There are diets claiming to cure Type 1 diabetes. They DO NOT. Some types of dietary habits can keep blood sugars lower than if you ate other types of foods, but in Type 1 diabetes there needs to be a supply of insulin from somewhere. By completely stopping all insulin to switch to a diet that claims to CURE Type 1 diabetes, you will truly endanger your life.

Remember, Type 1 diabetes is a very different disease in many ways from Type 2 diabetes. There are obvious similarities, including, of course, having high blood sugars, but the underlying reasons for the diseases, as well as available treatments are not the same. A huge mistake is made when medical teams approach Type 1 diabetes in the same way as Type 2 – they are NOT the same.

We will continue on next week. Until then, stay safe and healthy Vincies!

By: Anita Ramsetty, MD, Board Certified Endocrinologist and Internist

Author: My Doctor Says “It’s Not Your Thyroid,” available as eBook


Anita Ramsetty, MD

Medical Director Endocrine Care Group

Tel: 843-798-4227