April 15, 2006
Question from Wayland, Massachusetts, USA:
My family and I are committed to fundraising in many different areas for a cure for type 1 diabetes. However, are we right to be concerned that as research progresses toward “prevention” or reversing “new onset” type 1 diabetes, that those living with type 1 will be hurt by this discovery? Put another way, what incentive would there be to fund research dollars for the three million or so type 1s in the U.S., and others around the world if, in effect, a “cure” was found by way of prevention of new cases and the disease could be eliminated?
I have had type 1 for 43 years AND coordinate the research study at the University of Minnesota to which you are referring. I do not see at all that this research to see if we can preserve beta cell function in those with new onset takes away from research to cure diabetes or help those with diabetes for more than three months. To me, it seems that the research study just brings to the front the need to focus on type 1 diabetes, whether those with new onset or those who have had diabetes for many years. So, I see it as a win-win situation for those of us out there with diabetes.
Additional comments from Dr. Stuart Brink:
Nope. You are incorrect. If that type of “cure” were found today, there would still be lots of research about better treatment for those already living with diabetes and also for those having complications associated with diabetes. Many of us around the world are committed to working on all these areas simultaneously.