Diabetes: Progress and Promise in Stem Cell Research

Diabetes: Progress and Promise in Stem Cell Research

August 15, 2019 6 By Jose Scott


if I could have a cure to diabetes I think the thing I’d be most excited about is that I could just like doored my friend’s house and not worry about trying to figure out what they were giving me to eat or like calling my parents to try to figure out what to give myself for it does all of us you come home from work you walk in the kitchen you pop something in your mouth you think nothing of it Sarah can’t do that Sarah has to figure out whether what she’s eating requires insulin how much it’s a 24 hour a day job seven days a week you never get a day off I would give anything for a day off just to not have to think about it what if I eat what’s my budget if I exercise to mind how much insulin should I take is my insulin pump running out of it allows the battery in the blood test draws the battery in the palm insulin is no cure it’s just life support we need new treatments we need stem cells to create something much more natural and it is our goal with a sir my abhi T’s disease team to deliver the cells that normally produce insulin back to patients who have lost that cell type I love baseball always have in a little league game I was the batter and young friend of mine hit me in the face with a pitch and they took me to the hospital and the next morning the doctor called and both my parents started crying horribly and I said what’s wrong and I said well it turns out you have something called sugar diabetes so it was the end of the summer before school started in fifth grade I was at my friend’s birthday party it was apparent that she was so much thinner after the summer than the rest of the kids I was drinking like way more water than anyone else at the party and so that’s when it was diagnosed it’s diabetes it’s um it’s type 1 diabetes diabetes is the disease that’s clinically presents as high blood sugar in type 1 diabetes the patient’s immune system has killed off the cells that normally produce insulin so in a person without diabetes when they eat a meal and it starts to get digested the blood sugar begins to elevate the pancreas senses that elevating blood sugar and releases insulin on demand – cause that blood sugar to be utilized by the cells of the body so in a person with diabetes who has insufficient insulin blood sugar is going to remain elevated high blood sugar over time it affects a number of organs especially the kidneys and the eyes and the vascular system I’ve had a vitrectomy in my right eye I’ve had six toes amputated so far I’ve had a kidney transplant because I got kidney disease the pancreas doesn’t produce the insulin so they have to inject it on their own and what they’re doing is trying to estimate or even guess the right amount of insulin for the food that they’ve just eaten every time I eat a meal or snack I have to like sit down and think what do I want to eat so the Apple is 70 and I have to really be sure that I’m right because if I don’t end up eating everything that I’ve dosed myself for I’ll have a low blood sugar which is bad so what happens when blood sugar gets too low is that patients can slip into coma or even die patients with diabetes are constantly trying to walk a tightrope along high blood sugar and low blood sugar and they have to do this for the the course of their entire life via sites approach is to perform cell therapy for diabetes the source of the cells that will deliver come from embryonic stem cells we use a series of chemicals to change these stem cells and ultimately the the cells transform into cell types of the pancreas these cells of the pancreas are then delivered to patients inside of a capsule and the capsule is extremely important because it will protect the cells from destruction by the patient’s immune system it’s our hope that it will essentially replace the pancreas and and release the insulin on demand just as the normal pancreas would do I’ve been here for nine years and in the early days we didn’t have very much but now to see this program evolve and blossom to the point where it really represents a clinical reality for helping patients has been very motivating and very satisfying Lorraine and I we’ve been together 27 years and she saved my life several times when I’ve had low blood and she goes away on trips she was in New York yesterday and called me two or three times what’s your blood sugar when we go across the Bay Bridge Oakland to visit Mary’s father just for dinner we take supplies with us in case the bridge falls down so that we can be over there for some number of days everything sara does she does with his burden and so to the extent she’s a happy healthy you know fun-loving kid she’s working a little bit harder than everybody else to get there JDRF runs a program called children’s congress children with type 1 diabetes go to Washington DC to lobby Congress for funding for diabetes research and I was selected as one of the California delegates and I think that the members of Congress were really like interested to see that it affects like real people and I think it really touched them obviously I would love there to be a cure because I mean it would be great to go back to life the way it was before I had diabetes and before I had all these responsibilities and I think some salt research is a good idea because it’s it’s a new approach and I think we need as money approaches as we can get because it’s a hard thing to find a cure for