EVENT DATE: Jan 16, 2016
DEADLINE TO GIVE: Jan 16, 2016
I’m 41 years old now, have had a retinal detachment, and today there is not a cure... still waiting. But the good news is that there is a trial for a breakthrough in prevention of Type 1 diabetes, which could possibly lead to cure. Read on... or just check out my video.
Aaron Michels (also a type 1 diabetic for over 20 years) is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at the University of Colorado Anschutz Hospital. He is also my endocrinologist at the Barbra Davis Center. While in his care, he started to share some exciting news with me that inspired me to help make a difference in the area of diabetes research. I talk about this in the video, too.
Here’s what happens with Type I Diabetes…
When a child becomes diabetic, there is at least 1 of 4 markers which indicate the presence of the disease. If these markers are present, they can trigger a breakdown in the immune system, which turns on itself by attacking the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Insulin is a hormone that unlocks your body’s muscles and allows the food we eat to be converted to usable energy. Without insulin you may eat, but your body doesn’t get any of that nourishment. An undiagnosed child will die.
The promising news…
Dr. Michels and his team have been conducting research via clinical trials. In 50-60% of type 1 diabetics there is a marker DQ8. They are exploring options that could trick the immune system into not attacking the beta cells by finding an already existing medication with a side effect that would block DQ8.
The team collaborated with Drs. Ostov, Atkinson and Gottlieb to obtain some promising results---they discovered that Methyldopa, a drug to treat hypertension (High blood pressure) also blocked the DQ8 marker. Methyldopa has been around for 50 years, is already FDA approved and has been “super-tested”. It’s even found to be safe in pregnant women. Dr. Michels is currently in the process of testing Methyldopa on patients who have just become diabetic.
Drug trials are needed to test dosing by figuring out how much and who would need these doses for a positive outcome. His intent is to capitalize on the honeymoon period at newly-diagnosed diabetics may experience. During this period of time after beta cells have been attacked by the immune system, there is evidence that some insulin production still happens. Current tests have indicated that some of the people in the trial have been able to maintain insulin production.
How will this research help those of us who are Type 1 diabetics?
If effective doses of Methyldopa can be determined, those 50-60% of people destined to develop Type 1 diabetes, the ones carrying the DQ8 marker, could possibly avoid having to go through the fear, struggle, and side effects that I went through, and still deal with daily.
Drug trials typically cost $1-1.5 million dollars, and while the NIH (National Institutes of Health) has approved some funding, additional support is needed to empower Dr. Michels and his research team to continue their ground-breaking research for possible prevention of Type 1 diabetes.
The next phase is to start to test children who have the markers and who will inevitably become diabetic at some point in the future. If this works it could prevent them from developing diabetes at all!
The trial needs additional funding in the amount of $250,000 to be able to test for that.
The incidence of Type 1 diabetes has DOUBLED in the last 20 years. My hope is that 20 years from now, no one will have to deal with the aftermath of diabetes, retinal detachments, kidney failure, or foot amputation --- to name a few of the serious complications of diabetes. Yes, diabetes can be managed today, but the impact on the body of the disease is drastic.
Our goal is to raise at least $250,000 to support this critical research. Although I am not a doctor, I am certainly someone whose life has been impacted by diabetes AND I am someone who is committed to making a difference. With your help, we can support this cause and make the ravages of Type 1 diabetes a thing of the past!
If you are intrested in creating your own team to forward this cause or create a team for a diabetic you love contact me here!