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April 5, 2000

Research: Cure

Question from Monterey, California, USA:

My 5-year-old daughter, residing in Russia, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes one month ago. I'm shocked. I'm trying to find any way to find out if diabetes is completely curable: I mean some organ transplantation, the newest advanced medicine, etc. I called to Germany and Israel -- they don't have this complete cure. What about the USA? What are the most advanced methods to treat this disease here? I heard that there is some new type of injection here which should be taken just one time monthly. Is that true? And if it is, how much does it cost and what kind of patients can take it?


If your daughter does indeed have Type�1A (autoimmune) diabetes which is the commonest form in Caucasian children the treatment is insulin which has to be given at least twice daily. Whole pancreas or islet cell transplants are not appropriate for children and there is no insulin that can be given once a month. There have been many advances in the last few years in the care of young diabetics including new insulins, new insulin regimens, the use of pumps, the use of non invasive devices to measure blood sugars and even in the use of insulin by inhalation. I cannot tell you how much of this is available in Russia and I wonder whether the quickest way to ensure optimal care, assuming that she is now stabilised, might not be for her to join you in Monterey and in the meantime for you to explore whether she might be eligible for some sort of financial support there for her diabetes care. In the meantime it might help you to get an idea of the management of this problem if you downloaded (there is no cost) Understanding Insulin-Dependent Diabetes from www.uchsc.edu/misc/diabetes/UIDDM.html.