Headline, August 21 2022/ ''' '' DIABETES MANKIND'S DESPAIR* '' '''


 DESPAIR* '' '''

THE LONG - LONG WAIT FOR A DIABETES CURE. A new documentary captures the hopes and despair OF TYPE 1 patients.

IN THE THREE DECADES since she was first diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, Lisa Hepner has clung to a vague promise she often heard from doctors who were convinced that medical science was on the cusp of making her body whole again. ''Stay strong, they would say.'' A cure is just five years away.

BUT the cure has yet to arrive, and Ms. Hepner, 51, a filmmaker of Los Angeles, remains hobbled by her body's inability to make insulin, the sugar regulating hormone produced by the pancreas. ''I might look fine to you,'' he said, ''but I. feel crappy 70 percent of the time.

Staying healthy can be exhausting for many of the 37 million Americans with some form of diabetes.  There's the round-the-clock monitoring of sugar levels; the constant, life sustaining insulin injections; and the potential threats from diabetes' diabolical complications : heart disease, blindness, kidney damage and the possibility of losing a gangrenous limb to amputation.

'' 'The cure is five years away'  has become a joke in the diabetes community,'' Ms. Hepner said. ''If it's so close, then what's taking so long? And in the meantime, millions of us have died.''

The attenuated sense of hope drove Ms. Hepner to spend nearly a decade following the fortunes of Viacyte, a small San Diego biotech company working to create what would essentially be an artificial pancreas.

If successful, its stem-cell derived therapy would eliminate the pinpricks and insulin injections that circumscribe the lives of the 1.5 million Americans with Type 1 diabetes. Vertex Pharmaceuticals, a Boston biotech company developing a similar therapy, has already made significant headway.

Since its theatrical debut in June, ''The Human Trial,'' the documentary Ms. Hepner produced with her husband, Guy Mossman, has electrified the diabetic community, especially people with Type 1, a disease that the uninitiated often conflate with the more common Type 2.

Unlike Type 2, which tends to emerge slowly in adulthood and can sometimes be reversed early on with exercise and dietary changes, Type 1 is an autoimmune disease that often strikes without warning in childhood or adolescence.

Type 1 is also far less prevalent, affecting roughly 10 percent of those with diabetes. A pancreas transplant can cure the disease, but donated organs are in short supply and the surgery carries substantial risks.

In most years, only a thousand transplants are performed in the United States. To ensure that the body does not reject the implanted pancreas, recipients must take immunosuppressant drugs all their lives, making them more susceptible to infections.

Therapies developed from human embryonic stem cells,many experts say, offer the best hope for a lasting cure.

''The Human Trial'' provides a rare glimpse into the complexities and challenges of developing new therapies - both for the patients who volunteer for the gruelling clinical trials required by the Food and Drug Administration, and for the ViaCyte executives constantly scrambling to raise the money needed to bring a new drug to the market.

These days, the average cost, including the many failed trials along the way, is a billion dollars.

At a time when the soaring prices of insulin and other life-sustaining drugs has tarnished public perceptions of the pharmaceutical industry, the film is also noteworthy for its admiring portrayal of a biotech company whose executives and employees appear genuinely committed to helping humanity.

''The Human Trial,'' which can also be viewed online, has become a rallying cry for Type 1 patients, many of whom believe greater visibility is needed to secure the research dollars to find a cure.

Those who have seen the film have also been fortified by seeing their own struggles and dashed hopes reflected in the journeys of the film's two main subjects, Greg Romero and Maren Badger, who were among the first patients to have the experimental cell pouches planted under their skin.

The despair that drives them to become human guinea pigs can be very, very hard to watch. Mr. Romero - whose father also had the disease, went blind before he was 30 and then died prematurely -confronts his own failing vision while grappling with the pain of diabetes-related nerve damage.

After almost a lifetime of hearing that a cure was just around the corner, Dr. Aaron Kowalski, chief executive of the JDRF [Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation], the world's largest funder of Type 1 research, counts himself an optimist.

A dozen more drug companies are pursuing a cure than a decade ago, he said and the organization this year plans to spend $100 million on researching a cure.

''It's not a matter of if this will happen, it's a matter of when,'' said Dr. Kowalski, who is a scientist and has had the disease since childhood, as has a younger brother. ''Our job is to make sure it happens faster.''

Until that day, he added people with diabetes, both Type 1 and Type 2, could use a little empathy and understanding.

The Honour and Serving and Sadness of the Latest Global Operational Research on Diabetes Type 1 and Type 2, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Andrew Jacobs.

With respectful dedication to Research Scientists, Diabetics, Grandparents, Parents, Students, Professors and Teachers of the World. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society - for every subject in the world : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011.

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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