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Is there a Cure for Diabetes?

Insulin is carried in cells called islets, and studies began to address whether donor islets might provide a cure for diabetes.
Proper management, including injections if necessary, is key to a diabetic's long term health.
There is no cure for diabetes, but it can be managed through medication, injections or an insulin pump.
Several abdominal organs, including the pancreas, which is associated with diabetes.
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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 25 August 2014
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Currently, there is no cure for diabetes, although there is treatment that can help people maintain normal lives. Most often, insulin or another medication that either increases natural insulin production or decreases the release of glucose can be used to treat the disease. Not all cases respond well to these medicines, however.

Those who suffer from diabetes either cannot produce their own insulin, and therefore need to inject it in order to maintain healthy blood sugar levels in the body, or their bodies do not respond to it very effectively. In Type 1 diabetes, insulin is actually destroyed by the body, which can be extremely harmful to the person's health.

Insulin is carried in little cells called islets, and studies began to address whether donor islets might provide a cure for diabetes. The first study on islet transplantation evaluated only two patients in New Zealand who were given islets from a porcine donor. The original results suggested the possibility of doing more tests on islet transplantation, although neither subject was able to completely end his or her dependence on insulin. The test did not cure the diabetes, but the number of islets that were transplanted were less than the body would normally require, so this technique still has promise.

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On 28 September 2006, The New England Journal of Medicine published the results of a more comprehensive study on the islet “cure” for diabetes. Islets were transplanted from deceased human donors, and the tests were conducted in several locations around the world on 36 patients. In this test, which is still a small sampling of patients, 44% of patients were living independently of insulin after one year. Another 28% had partially functioning islets and were able to reduce their insulin intake. The remaining 28% had no live graft islets at the end of one year.

The study continued for a year past this point, and the results were less promising. Within two years, 76% of the group required insulin. Only five of the initial 36 people tested were able to remain independent of insulin at the two-year mark. Though the outcome is not a miracle cure for diabetes, it does suggest that insulin dependence might be reduced by islet transplantation in people with Type 1 diabetes. The study did not examine people with Type 2 diabetes.

Islet transplantation remains a treatment, not a cure, unless scientists can recalculate the number of islets transplanted and make adjustments that would allow a greater amount of participants to become independent of insulin. No doubt, research will continue to progress along these lines, with perhaps greater numbers participating in such testing. Medical researchers also continue to examine other possible methods, like pancreas transplantation, that might ultimately provide a cure for diabetes.

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Discuss this Article

anon260884
Post 11

I have diabetes and I am finding that there is not much evidence of a cure so far. Well, at least that is how the doctors and scientists are expressing it. But, this disease does not drastically change your life. You can lead a very normal life.

anon180964
Post 10

I have given money, and time to the American Diabetes Association, and i know they have received millions of dollars each year. However, I do not feel that they are any nearer to finding a cure for this disease. I am very disappointed. I have diabetes, and my daughter has diabetes too. You would think that by now they would be on to a cure, but I have seen no evidence of this.

anon129738
Post 8

"There IS A Cure For Diabetes": Living, plant-based foods.

Search any major online bookstore for 'There Is A Cure For Diabetes', by Dr. Gabriel Cousens. Blessings

anon96985
Post 7

I find it strange that this article didn't talk about Lap-Band and gastric bypass surgery helping to repress type II diabetes. Though that's more for the overly obese than for normal-sized folks, I think the info should be out there.

LivHappyr
Post 6

Thank you so much ProudMom2, my doctor never mentioned anything like controlling my diet. I know my weight is unhealthy and I want to be around to see my kids grow up. And since diabetes does not run in my family, I'm hoping that by following a diet and losing weight it will go away. I will come back to post my results. Thanks again.

ProudMom2
Post 5

LivHappyr- I'd be happy to share my dietician's orders. I had to eat every 3-4 hours and max out my allowed carbohydrates. For breakfast I had to eat 25, 1st break was 15, lunch was 30, 2nd break was also 15 and dinner was 45. You can find the carbs in each serving on the food packages. But I could eat all of the zero carb food, like cheese and lunchmeat I wanted in between.

I couldn’t drink soda so I put Splenda in my tea. You can pick up a fast food guide at a book store that has the carbs for every item on the menu; that was real helpful. But please, ask your doctor if he or she can refer you to a dietician to determine the diet right for you. Good luck!

LivHappyr
Post 4

ProudMom2- I am overweight and my doctor wants to put me on an oral medication because my blood sugar is too high. Can I ask how you changed your diet and did it work? I know its a different type of diabetes, but I heard once you're on a medication for this you pretty much eventually end up on insulin injections and I'm scared. Thank you.

ProudMom2
Post 3

I had gestational diabetes, which means I had it only while I was pregnant. I had to prick my finger to check my sugar level three times a day. I also had to change my diet by eating healthy dose of carbohydrates every three hours and eliminate certain fats and sweets from my daily menu. Within 24 hours of delivering, I was no longer at risk and pronounced cured.

I do have a predisposition to get it again, because all of my grandparents had it as well. But, the type they had was preventable, meaning if they had monitored their blood sugars from early on and changed their diets, they could have lived longer and healthier lives. That is exactly what I intend to do.

anon59227
Post 2

how can i maintain my sexual life with diabetes?

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