- advertisement -

Diabetes cure in five years? These pigs could be the answer

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Ellen, Jan 17, 2009.

  1. Ellen

    Ellen Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2005
    Messages:
    8,240
    Thanks to JoeC for posting this at The Islet Foundation forum:cwds:

    Diabetes cure in five years? These pigs could be the answer | Duluth News Tribune | Duluth, Minnesota

    Published January 17 2009
    Diabetes cure in five years? These pigs could be the answer

    In a year, Spring Point researchers and administrators hope their pigs will give birth to piglets that will be the first in the country to have their islet cells transplanted into humans, which could lead to a cure for diabetes. They hope to achieve the goal by 2014.
    By: Brandon Stahl , Duluth News Tribune
    [​IMG] A pathogen-free pig at the Spring Point Project farm in New Richmond, Wis., plays with a toy in its pen. Spring Point researchers hope that pancreatic islet cells harvested from the offspring of these pigs will help cure people with Type 1 diabetes. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)



    RELATED CONTENT

    • FLASH VIDEO: DNT Video: Spring Point Project
    Behind the barrier at the Spring Point Project facility in New Richmond, Wis., the general rule is: Don’t scratch.
    A touch to your face or the top of your head, or even pushing up a pair of glasses sliding down your nose — any place on your body that hasn’t been sterilized — would mean you’d immediately have to stop what you’re doing and put on a new pair of gloves.
    That’s if you’re one of seven people in the world allowed inside the barrier: those who have submitted blood and fecal samples to prove they’re free of pathogens that could infect the 120 or so pigs inside.
    In a year, Spring Point researchers and administrators hope the pigs will give birth to piglets that will be the first in the country to have their islet cells transplanted into humans, which could lead to a cure for diabetes. They hope to achieve the goal by 2014.
    Producing a cure
    Both the pigs and piglets will never see the light of day, another in a long list of precautions to ensure they remain free of pathogens that could be transmitted when their cells are transplanted. It’s one of several requirements by the Food and Drug Administration before clinical trials can begin, said Tom Cartier, a Duluth businessman and co-founder of Spring Point.
    As Cartier helps position the program for the start of clinical trials, he also is preparing for its next research center, working to secure nearly $80 million to make it possible.
    “But one virus, one strain of bacteria could get in, and we’d have to start all over again,” said Henk-Jan Schuurman, Spring Point’s CEO — who is not allowed inside.
    About 24 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, which occurs when the body fails to produce enough insulin. The disease is a leading cause of death and disabilities such as blindness and amputations. Transplants of human islet cells into diabetics have reversed the disease but are not a viable cure for diabetics because there aren’t enough donors.
    Spring Point researchers believe pig islet cells will solve that problem.
    “We used to hesitate using the word ‘cure,’ ” said Cartier, who led the effort to open the facility. “We don’t anymore. We believe this will be the cure.”
    Sterile safeguards
    Access to the 21,000-square-foot, $6.2 million facility is rarely allowed. On Tuesday, the News Tribune was the first media outlet allowed to tour non-secure portions of the facility since it opened last February.
    Inside is a sterile,
    hospital-like atmosphere where only a few hallways and labs are open to visitors; the pigs are visible only through one window.
    The employees who work there must not only be able to perform medical procedures on the pigs but also perform basic tasks such as taking out the trash or cleaning the pigs’ pens, facility director Mike Martin said.
    Any tools brought into the facility must be sanitized with a hydrogen solution. Calling a repairman to fix a broken computer isn’t an option.
    “I’d say 99 percent of the things that break in there, we fix,” Martin said.
    The employees aren’t allowed in with the pigs if they’re sick or if they’ve been in recent contact with other animals.
    “If you have a sore throat, you’re not allowed inside,” said Martin. “If you have swollen lymph nodes, you’re out.”
    The precautions and stakes are so high that the doctor directing the research efforts, Bernhard Hering, a professor of surgery with the University of Minnesota, hasn’t been to the facility since last year. The center wouldn’t have been conceived if it hadn’t been for Hering, who helped transplant pig islets cells into diabetic monkeys, some of which were diabetes-free for more than a year.
    More research to come
    While researchers work to get FDA approval to begin clinical trials, Cartier’s next mission will be to open a first-of-its kind facility to house enough medical pigs to provide islet cells to diabetes patients.
    Fundraising for the
    $80 million facility got off to a good start. The founder of Best Buy, Richard Schulze, and his family foundation gave $40 million to University of Minnesota researchers, much of which Cartier said will go toward Spring Point. Another
    $20 million to $30 million will come from donors who don’t yet want to be identified, Cartier said, with part of that money being designated for the next facility.
    Cartier acknowledged there are risks involved in building a facility before trials show the islet cell treatment will work.
    “It’s like putting the cart before the horse; but we did it before, and we’ll do it again,’ he said. “I’m not worried about it; I should be, but I’m not.”


    Tags: news,diabetes,pigs,research,medicine

     
  2. Ellen

    Ellen Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2005
    Messages:
    8,240
    Professor, Duluth businessman join in finding cure for diabetes

    Bernhard Hering, a professor of surgery with the University of Minnesota, believes he may have solved one of the major riddles in transplanting islet cells from pigs to humans — rejection.
    “The path toward transplanting non-human islet cells has been rocky,” said Matt Petersen, the director of information resources with the American Diabetes Association. “Our immune system is so good at destroying anything non-human.”
    Based on his research, Hering said, pig islet cells aren’t subject to the same type of rejection as other cells, which “puts them at a great immunological advantage compared with most other cells.”
    After making the discoveries, Hering decided to push toward clinical trials and eventually a cure. He and another U of M researcher contacted Tom Cartier several years ago to help develop an operation that would produce enough medical-grade pigs for testing.
    “I asked, ‘Why me?’” Cartier said. “I’m just a little guy out of Duluth.”
    Cartier isn’t the type of person you would expect to be behind such an effort. He owns Cartier Insurance, which is run out of a modest building in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. He said he met Hering after the University of Minnesota sent out information regarding the diabetes research to 20,000 alumni.
    Cartier, whose son, Cory, has diabetes, said Hering was the only one who called to say: “How can I help?”
    A few months later, Cartier turned over operation of his business to his family and became a full-time fundraiser and organizer for Spring Point as its chairman.
     
  3. .sarah.

    .sarah. Approved members

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2009
    Messages:
    11
    ooooohhh!! that's so exciting! poor pigs, but....a cure for diabetes! i really really like this quote from it:

    “We used to hesitate using the word ‘cure,’ ” said Cartier, who led the effort to open the facility. “We don’t anymore. We believe this will be the cure.”
     
  4. gotinsulin

    gotinsulin Approved members

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2005
    Messages:
    107
    what am I missing?

    islet cells even of piglets would still be subject to the autoimmune process that caused and keeps are kids diabetic right?
    so what is different I mean weren't their original own islet cells perfect and they got distroyed???
    these same kids have or may gone on to have other autoimmune diseases
    like thyroid, celiac disease, pcos, carpal tunnel, lupus, ms, athritis, skin issues
    which I can't spell, etc... so what is the POINT of replacement... unless you can stop that ... its not "the cure" a step maybe ...
     
  5. Rachel Erin

    Rachel Erin Approved members

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2008
    Messages:
    113
    All we gotta do is wait and hope, until they find a cure.
     
  6. Danielle2008

    Danielle2008 Approved members

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Messages:
    1,548
    One of the ladies at my D center who is involved in a lot of the research, told me they want to wrap the cells in seaweed(...now I don't know exactly what the process is, but that is what she said), and by doing this the body will not recognize the cells and kill them(like what is happening now). It protects them. I know she feels it is going to be very promising. I have a feeling that is what they are going to try and do here, too.
     

Share This Page

- advertisement -

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice