Over the past years, I have seen tremendous advancements in the treatment and management of type one diabetes. However, I have also seen countless ideas and inventions that never make it out of the lab or to the general population. Of course, it takes years and an amazing amount of funding for an idea to make it to the lab, and even more work for it to reach the general public. That's why when an advancement looks promising; I can't help but get excited!
Encapsulation is beta cell therapy implanted into a patient that would "cure" the patient of type one diabetes for up to two years. This treatment is beginning human clinical trials within the next few months, and has already shown promising results. A packet inserted into the patient would hold new beta cells that would read the amount of glucose in the body and automatically and immediately release the exact amount of insulin as necessary. These beta cells would be covered by a protective yet permeable barrier (process shown in above diagram), therefore they would not be under autoimmune attack, which was the major problem in original islet cell transplants. In other words, no toxic immunosuppresive drugs would need to be taken by the patient. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) has led this research and partnered with other research organizations to perfect and market the idea.
With encapsulation, a patient can almost feel "cured" of diabetes for up to 24 months. They would not have to test their blood sugar, deliver insulin, wear an insulin pump or carry around syringes, or feel the effects of high and low blood sugars. Advancements such as these make me believe even more that there will be a cure one day and that the treatment of type one diabetes will continue to grow better and easier. I can barely even imagine a life free of type one diabetes, but with encapsulation, it could become a reality.
Hello everyone! I'm Hannah! I'm 16 years old and have been living a normal life with type 1 diabetes for 10 years! I'm so excited to share the journey of Penpals United with you through our blog!