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What is happening?
Scientists agree that there is a way to cure Diabetes.
It will however involve years of research and tireless dedicated study.
Recent breakthroughs give hope that we may now be closer than ever to finding a cure.
The only way to maintain these improvements and advances towards a cure is to maintain the vital funding for research. All new drugs and treatments must undergo stringent trials and this takes time. Time means money and this is why long-term research funding is required.
Recently in Canada several people with Type 1 Diabetes have been able to produce their own insulin following a procedure called islet cell transplantation.
The first islet cell transplant was achieved in 1977 and since then research has continued and is still being developed by James Shapiro and Jonathan Lakey in Edmonton, Canada. The process involves
the injecting of islet cells from donor pancreases into the livers of patients with Type 1 Diabetes.
Once in the liver the cells develop a blood supply and start to produce insulin.
This process is known as the 'Edmonton Protocol'. The success of this venture is dependant on the amount of money available for research, the number of donor pancreases available and the improvement of the drugs currently required by patients to avoid the body rejecting the transplanted cells. Diabetes UK would like to fund similar work in the UK to further this important research.
British researcher Dr Susan Wong, working at the Yale University School of Medicine believes she has discovered how cells from the body's immune system attack and damage the cells that produce insulin.
This is an important step towards developing preventative medicine. Dr Wong's team have found a molecule that can provoke the body's defences into an attack. It is hoped that eventually it will be possible to develop a treatment, which will make the immune system tolerant of this molecule.
The body will then leave the insulin producing cells alone to do their job. Hopefully this exciting breakthrough will now be taken further by many groups of scientists around the world.
Funds from Diabetes UK
Diabetes UK presently fund many studies and projects in the UK, one of which is currently looking specifically at Type 2 Diabetes - to try to establish whether it is a genetic phenomenon or whether it actually occurs in the womb.
Research funds go towards looking into the causes of Diabetes, the genetic trends, the secretion and action of insulin, how to control Diabetes, how to prevent and treat complications associated with Diabetes, ensuring the success and standards of treatment and care of Diabetics and the psychological aspect of caring for people with Diabetes.
Diabetes UK invests over £5 million each year in research projects.
Your contribution towards these funds will clearly have an impact on advances made - just by joining Diabetes UK you are helping enormously towards research into a cure.