Cures for Diabetes

Diabetes is one of the nation’s leading causes of death, yet it is also a leading industry. Yes, industry. Think of all the treatment and maintenance supplies a diabetic need in just one month. Include the trips to the various doctors (include all of the specialist diabetics need), the special diets, the special shoes, etc. And do not forget the medicines.  It is a profitable industry.

Researchers have conducted studies for over 40 years. There have been advances in the treatment of diabetes, yet people are still running for a cure. Are there cures to diabetes?

Transplants are in the news as a growing possibility for a cure. Pancreas transplants will end the need for insulin, diet, and oral medications. It will not reverse the damage from complications that have already developed. Since the body has only one pancreas donors pancreas have to come from cadavers. This presents a limited amount of donors for transplantation.

Insulin-producing cells have been transplanted into monkey with success in curing diabetes. This process is still experimental (and has been for years).  The transplantation is reported to work with the use of a drug containing antibodies to prevent rejection.

Currently, immune suppressants are used to prevent rejection in organ transplants. This new drug works differently than suppressants. The experimental drug will thwart a key part of the immune system. Human trials of the drug are scheduled to begin soon.

Researchers are also conducting studies involving a drug that has been used for 40 years to treat arthritis. Glucose levels have been reported to improve for all patients in a study using Salsalate. Salsalate chemically resembles aspirin without the risk of stomach bleeding.  Future research will determine the risks of kidney problems as a potential side effect.

The American Diabetes Association reports that there are 23.6 million people living with diabetes in the United States. It is a leading health disparity for minorities. This leads the question: Is the demand for a cure as great as profit margins in treatments?

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