Monday, February 8, 2016

My Cure, Your Cure . . . .

If there is one thing I know for sure about diabetes, it’s that it isn’t one size fits all.  Some people do great on pumps, others flourish with MDIs.  Foods that spike me may not necessarily spike you.  I do best on Apridra, one of my friends does best on Humalog and another friend needs to use Novolog.  The list goes on, but it’s best summed up with the words of my wise friend Bennet, “Your Diabetes May Vary”.

Lately my Facebook feed has been filled with excitement over the progress being made toward encapsulating islet cells.  There were a flood of links to this article in particular and to other similar pieces.  Thrilling stuff, for sure, and I’m excited to see progress toward new treatment options.  But one word halts me every time I see the article.  And that word is “cure”.

Encapsulation, for me, is not a cure.  My definition of a cure would be my body producing its own insulin again.  Encapsulated cells in my body producing insulin will hopefully be a fantastic step forward in treatment, but I would still think of myself as a person with diabetes.  It’s my understanding the device would need to be replaced periodically.  Therefore, I’d still need to undergo procedures and that isn't a cure in my mind.  And what if I had an allergy to the device, or for some other reason it needed to be removed?  I’d still have diabetes and I’d be right back where I am today.

Some people with diabetes may consider encapsulation devices to be a cure.  And that is their right.  But I wish the media wouldn’t toss that word around so frequently.  Because just like diabetes, Your Cure May Vary.


  1. And it's even more frustrating because ViaCyte doesn't call it a cure so it is 100% the media's fault. Ugh!

  2. Oh I had the exact same thoughts. Something that requires yearly surgery and lost of monitoring is a new treatment, not a cure.

    Then my second thought is, oh goodness how much would these yearly surgeries and encapsulated stem cells cost? (so, so much I'm sure) I'm not breaking out the confetti yet.

  3. They have not even tried this procedure on any sizable number of humans. I wonder what all the excitement is about.

  4. I applaud ViaCyte for taking a step. I am thrilled by their step just the same as I am a new pump manufacturer. It is a means on the road toward an end. Not the end and for that reason I agree with you Karen. I dislike any notion that this is the end result of the road when it is a sign post at best.

    Also Karen you should know I placed this item in the web blog section of TUDiabetes. It was placed because I thought it was an amazing well reasoned and well executed blog. Thank you for the work you do as a blogger!!

  5. I think that what these studies that are in the news now are reaching for is the next step towards the final cure. And ViaCyte/Sernova/Biohub are on very similar paths which I find encouraging. And its a HUGE step in that direction. Without the immunosuppression, this will feel like being cured. At the beginning of my islet cell transplant, before the immunosuppression started giving side effects, I definitely felt cured. Its more than just not dealing with highs, lows and devices. Its more energy and feeling wholly better. Even towards the end of my transplant's life, I still felt pretty good. I guess that what I'm saying is that this next step is worth getting very excited about. I hope that we get to experience any one of these advancements soon!


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