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January 15, 2001

Research: Cure

Question from Mumbai, Maharastra, India:

Is there any permanent treatment for this dreadful disease possible in the near future (one to two years)? Is there a possibility of temporary diabetes occurring in a child?

Answer:

I don’t foresee a permanent (i.e. ‘restitutio ad integrum’ that is no more diet nor exogenous insulin need forever) treatment for type�1 diabetes over the next one to two years. This because either genetic therapy as well as islet cell transplants require a longer period of time to be safe for patients beyond the ongoing preclinical trials. You should review our many previous answers on these therapeutical approaches.

In the meantime, current insulin therapy, optimized towards the best metabolic control, is the safest procedure to stay healthy enough when the magic bullet will be definitively available.

The only transient form of diabetes occurring in a child is TNDM (transient neonatal diabetes mellitus) that lasts only for a short period after birth, two to three months.

MS

[Editor’s comment: Please see: Research into a Cure.

SS]