A clinical trial by the Vertex Pharmaceuticals company to find a more effective and less invasive treatment for type 1 diabetes, promises to improve the lives of millions of people around the world, mainly 1.5 million individuals estimated to live in the United States .
It is, broadly speaking, a treatment that consists of the infusion of cells grown from stem cells and that would help people to automatically control their insulin and blood sugar levels. The treatment is directed to somehow supply the pancreas cells that are producing insulin and that people with type 1 diabetes lack. According to Vertex Pharmaceuticals, it would not be suitable for people with type 2 diabetes.
This promising treatment took about thirty years to arrive at and began with the work of Dr. Doug Melton of Harvard University.
Treatment is already being administered to 17 volunteers with type 1 diabetes. Of them, The New York Times told the story of Brian Shelton, now 64, who said he was amazed at the positive effects he has felt. on your body with the experimental Vertex treatment.
“It’s a completely new life (…) It’s like a miracle,” Shelton told the New York newspaper.
Dr. Doug Melton decided to dedicate his life to a search for this disease, when several years ago his son, at that time six months old, began to shake, vomit and gasp. She learned then that her son had type 1 diabetes. “It is a terrible, terrible disease,” declared the doctor.
According to medical reports counted by the NYT, the disease occurs more daily at the age of 13 to 14 years and unlike type 2 diabetes, type 1 is usually more lethal and advances more quickly on the health of the patient.
With type 1 diabetes, patients are at risk of going blind, and in fact, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in the United States and is also the leading cause of kidney failure in that country. People with type 1 diabetes are also at risk of having their legs amputated and even dying at night because their blood sugar plummets during sleep.
Type 1 diabetes also greatly increases the chance of having a heart attack or stroke and weakens the immune system.
And to the effects against health, the continuing cost of insulin for treatments hits the pockets of the sick and their families.
So far, the only cure that has worked is pancreas transplants or transplants of groups of insulin-producing cells from the pancreas, known as islet cells, and from an organ donor pancreas. But the shortage of organs makes this possibility impossible for many people with the disease.
And when it came to a possibility of turning to stem cells to find potential treatments for type 1 diabetes, then-President George W. Bush banned the use of federal money for human embryo and stem cell research in 2001, which ended for affecting research in this and other fields of medicine.
Dr. Doug Melton worked alone for twenty years with a laboratory for which he hired 15 people to develop the treatment for this type of diabetes. As the experiments progressed, Vertex saw an opportunity to acquire the lab, then called “Semma,” for $ 950 million.
Vertex Pharmaceuticals estimates that its treatment could be on the market within five years, already with the validations of the United States medical regulators, although it is still unknown how accessible its cost may be to the public.
The information in this note was taken from an article originally published by The New York Times.