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March 10, 2001

Research: Cure

Question from Buenos Aires, Argentina:

Our eight year-old son developed type 1 diabetes about eight months ago when hospitalized with ketoacidosis for seven days. Happily, he did not have complications. According to the scientific advances on this disease, what will be the approximate time that science discovers permanent cures of this disease?


As you know, at this moment there is yet no permanent cure for diabetes, but investigations are continuing to search and there are many advances. In more or less 10 years there will likely be technologic advances for islet cell transplants without the necessity of taking many immunosuppressive drugs. Also, there is the possibility that advances in genetic engineering will facilitate insulin producing organs.

You might be intested in visiting the Asociacion Latinoamericana de Diabetes website.

Additional comments from Dr. Stuart Brink:

I’m sorry but there is no cure for diabetes, neither type�1 nor type�2. There are many laboratory studies around the world looking for such cures, but right now, none are possible. The best thing for the family to do now is their best at controlling glucose levels with a system of education, multiple doses of insulin before each meal and several types of basal insulin (for example, NPH in the morning with Humalog, Humalog alone to cover lunch, Humalog before supper and NPH alone at about 11 pm.at night). There are many different insulin regimens and each person and child is different. In our clinic, we utilize frequent glucose readings four to five times a day and then analyze these levels to make individual insulin and food decisions based upon blood glucose readings and activity. The important thing is to work closely with the specialty pediatric diabetes specialty team in Buenos Aires. If the family would like, there are several diabetes teaching manuals available for more information. The best one is the guide by Insulin-Dependent Diabetes in Children, Adolescents and Adults by Ragnar Hanas, M.D.