Tuesday Topic: Putting Stem Cells In My Body?

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Viacyte, a San Diego based regenerative health/drug company, set off ripples of hope and relief in the diabetes community.  We’ve been dreaming of drinking coffee without blood sugar spikes, running an hour without being low for the next hour, and not having to smother my pump’s low battery alarm during meetings.

Here’s a quick review of the announcement—Viacyte is moving forward with an application, to the FDA, to initiate Phase I/II clinical trials in Type 1 diabetes patients.  They’re testing safety and efficacy of an implantable device that secretes insulin through enclosed stem cells, turned to pancreatic beta cells, effectively removing the need for diabetics to take insulin.  Found on Viacyte’s website, here’s their grandiose take on the product’s possibilities:

“In short, ViaCyte’s VC-01 combination product has the potential to transform the way diabetes care is managed. The product could be a virtual cure for type 1 diabetes and an important new therapy for insulin-requiring type 2 diabetes.”

For a much more thorough breakdown of the announcement, please check out Mike’s take from DiabetesMine.

Upon first examination, we at the DDG had a few thoughts, ideas, and concerns that only a long-time diabetic might have:

1) How much therapy would we have to go through to stop worrying about carbs?
2) That 10% of my brain that manages diabetes, at all times of the day, would be retired.  What am I going to do with all this freedom? Gosh, it would be nice to be fully present all the time.
3) Am I still considered a T1D if I have this in my body?
4) Can I set my blood sugar average? Like a thermostat?
5) Without the pump, what am I going to do with two fully functioning hands naked?

Side note: I tried to explain how this whole stem cell technology thing to Amber by comparing the new device to panty hose and the stem cells were a marble.  Then I threw in all kinds of other weird analogies.  Regardless, I need to come up with something better. She thinks I’m crazy.

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