Sure looks like a 'cure' for type 1 diabetes
is getting ever so close
(Top Posts - Science - 103008)

Ideally, type 1 diabetics, in some form of a
'cure', would return to the way they were be-
fore they became diabetic, and would be like
non-diabetics -- eating, socializing, working,
and living without worrying about losing
consciousness, giving insulin shots, blood
sugars going too low, blood sugars going
too high, or any of the complications that
can result from having type 1 diabetes.

That's the ideal. Not sure how close the fol-
lowing might come to that, as the word
'cure' is notably absent in the following
article, but it's difficult to see how a close-
loop artificial pancreas that successfully
maintained blood sugar levels without the
requirement for human intervention would
avoid being characterized as a 'cure'.

Perhaps the word 'cure' isn't used in the fol-
lowing because the method is artificial, rather
than biological, but in any case, -if- no human
intervention is required, it's as good as 'gold'
for type 1 diabetics -if- some day, some way,
an artificial pancreas resembling the real thing
becomes a reality:

- - -
October 30, 2008

Artificial Pancreas Could Revolutionize
Treatment of Type 1 Diabetes
- - -

Complete article:

Researchers at the University of Virginia and
sites across the globe are testing a computerized,
subcutaneous system that could one day trans-
form the way Type 1 diabetics manage their

U.Va. investigators have completed the first of
several international artificial pancreas clinical
trials to test an individually-"prescribed" control
algorithm, which regulates blood glucose levels
in Type 1 diabetics. one of seven centers
worldwide funded by the Juvenile Diabetes
Research Foundation to perform the novel
closed-loop computer simulation of the human
metabolic system.

Since late June, researchers have successfully
tested the new system on five patients at the U.Va.
Health System. Three additional patients partici-
pated in a parallel study at the University of
Padova, Italy.

"Our initial results are very encouraging," said
Boris Kovatchev, associate professor of psychi-
atry and neurobehavioral sciences and of systems
and information engineering, who is leading
U.Va.'s research team. "The system entirely
maintained the patients' blood glucose levels,
and the algorithm achieved excellent overnight
control without any incidence of hypoglycemia."

Kovatchev, internationally known for his exper-
tise in applying advanced computational methods
to diabetes research, was one of the scientists
who developed the system's novel algorithm,
which allows for personalized treatment for
each patient. By linking patients' glucose mon-
itors with their insulin pumps, the "smart" pro-
gram automatically regulates the amount of
insulin a patient needs.

Researchers were granted Food and Drug Admin-
istration approval, based solely on computer sim-
ulation experiments, to test the artificial pancreas
in humans, without any prior animal trials. The
action cut research development time from sev-
eral years to six months.

"This artificial pancreas could one day greatly
improve the current methods of self-treatment
for Type 1 diabetes," Kovatchev said. "Instead
of a patient having to measure his or her blood
sugar with a glucose meter several times a day
and self-administer insulin injections, this sys-
tem would continuously regulate the patient's
blood glucose, much like the way a non-diabetic's
pancreas functions."

Complete results from the initial clinical trials
at the U.Va.Health System, the University of
Padova and the University of Montpellier, France,
are expected by the end of 2008.

- - -

Adapted from materials provided by
University of Virginia.

- - - end of article - - -