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Has any chronic disease been "cured"?

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by Nancy in VA, Feb 2, 2011.

  1. Nancy in VA

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    There is a raging debate in the JDRF thread about people's definition of a cure. A question was kinda batted around but never really delved into.

    I DO NOT WANT TO REHASH THE JDRF DISCUSSION HERE - GO TO THAT THREAD IF YOU WANT TO DO THAT.

    My question is this - is there a chronic disease that has been "cured". A truely chronic disease that has been cured - meaning people that HAD it were given a treatment and it was gone. In many cases, diseases have been erradicated by vaccinating the young and then those afflicted have died - thus resulting in no people with the disease. But, I'm just having trouble thinking of a chronic disease that has been cured so that someone who had to live with it suddenly didn't have to.

    Can someone help me identify some?
     
  2. frizzyrazzy

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    you could talk about chronic illnesses that are "cured" by antibiotic administration - things like tuberculosis, or organ transplant cures those with chronic lung or heart conditions.

    But I know that's not what you're getting at. Antibiotics cure a lot of things, and that's closer to where you're going. Organ transplants, while curing those diseases, bring a host of new issues. But they are cures.

    You could look at a disease like HIV and say while it's not cured, it is no longer the deadly disease that it once was due to available medicines and I guess the same could be said for Diabetes.

    (I was just googling - found one - Scurvy . LOL)
     
  3. Nancy in VA

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    Well, pancreatic transplants are available today, so technically you could say there is a cure to T1 available now.

    I guess what I'm trying to identify is chronic diseases that someone has developed a cure for that has been able to restore an individual with that disease back to pre-disease condition
     
  4. frizzyrazzy

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    so like tuberculosis - can be cured with a long course of antibiotics and scurvy can be cured with Vitamin C. Those things are still in existence in society and can be cured.

    I'm not sure there are many other diseases LIKE diabetes though and the ones I can think of, are all autoimmune types like where the person has the disease and lives a relatively normal life with the disease yet still has it.
     
  5. Flutterby

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    Yes, it would be cured for a while. But then the autoimmune issue will come back into play and eventually they'd be dealing with type 1 again.

    I don't know of any

    (what the heck is scurvy?? doesn't sound pleasant.).
     
  6. Lisa P.

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    I think the bigger and more controversial question is how you have dared to change your picture after all this time. Really confused me.

    As for chronic diseases that have been cured, I think to date you're right, we're talking about diseases that have living pathogens. For example, there are some parasites that populations in the past have pretty much lived with from childhood until death that are now cured when the parasite is killed. I believe, for example, that Carter spearheaded a campaign to get rid of a kind of worm that infected feet when people walked in infected water. It's cured in individuals through treatment and also largely gone in the societies it had threatened.

    So far, people can prevent viral infection using the body's own immune system, but not kill a virus. Cancer can be beaten down and cured in some, if you count "cured" as gone and not recurring until death by another cause, but it's not something that can be cured in every instance, of course.

    Autoimmune diseases could, in my opinion, be considered "malfunctions" rather than diseases in the traditional sense. In that way, we're talking about misfires of the body, so I'd consider curing them to be a whole different category. So if you can find a cure for one, I would not doubt you'd have hope for a cure for many. This, to me, is the biggest argument for the population to fund research for curing Type 1 -- where it looks promising, if we can follow through and if it actually works out, the implications for other diseases seem to be pretty huge.
     
  7. Lisa P.

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    Here it is, it's the guinea worm.

    So, we can "cure" people of chronic parasitic infections, of chronic bacterial infections, and of some cancers at some points, which would be an entirely different kind of disease.

    Viruses we can't cure, but we can help the body cure itself of them.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/26/international/africa/26worm.html
     
  8. Sarah Maddie's Mom

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    Nancy, I know that you work hard for JDRF, so I assume you participate in the plethora of "Cure" events sponsored by JDRF. Given that, have you been working toward a hopeless cause? Or do you believe that Type 1 will be the unique chronic disease that JDRF will triumph over and restore our kids to a pre-disease condition?
     
  9. Nancy in VA

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    But Lisa, are cancer patients considered "cured" or "in remission". I hear both so I don't know which is valid.

    I guess maybe that there are different "types" of diseases that we are talking about. We've named several chronic diseases: Lupus, T1, MS - but those all seem to be auto-immune.

    Is TB cured? Is TB a disease or an "illness". I guess I thought of TB as an illness? Is that the big thing - do we need to define what a disease vs an illness is - are they different or are they the same?

    And Lisa, I realized that my picture was quite old, and I'm about 20lbs lighter than that picture, so I wanted a bit more modern one.
     
  10. Nancy in VA

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    I'm still involved with JDRF -I answered this question in the other thread.
     
  11. Flutterby

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    I believe they go into remission and then after so many years of remission, then they can be considered cured.
     
  12. Lisa P.

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    If your point for the question is to pose the idea that cure/not cure is not as simple as all that, I totally agree with that. I do think that when you use "cure" for fundraising you need to appraise what most people think of the term when they work to raise funds for a cure. I think it's fair to say that ongoing transplantation efforts with a short-term goal of improving the condition and a long-term goal of ending the condition would be something most folks would consider a "cure". Artificial pancreas? I wouldn't, but I can fairly see how some might. Kidney disease drugs, I don't think so. So, I do think that it's fair to market differently. But I do agree that not everyone thinks of "cure" in the same way, I think that's absolutely fair.

    I do hear remission instead of cure. I think the idea would be that with cancer, as with autoimmune, you don't have an outside agent attacking the body. The body is attacking itself. So the underlying propensity MAY still remain, and since we don't know what the basis is for that predisposition we can't say any one cancer patient has been cured. But I think there are many people now who are treated for cancer and never have it recur, and I don't think this happened a hundred years ago. So I would say individual cases of cancer have been de facto cured, while "cancer" as a whole has not been.

    But that all just kind of reinforces the idea that "cure" is an ambiguous term in many ways, which I do not disagree with.

    I do remember discussions about HIV where people were unhappy that it couldn't be cured, where people pointed out that no viral infection has ever been cured through outside action, even the common cold. Cures are not easy. When I first heard about diabetes and cures, I wondered that anyone could believe it would ever be curable. I've kind of done the reverse of you -- nowadays, I'm more inclined to think it may be possible. Still not much inclined, but more than I was before.
     
  13. frizzyrazzy

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    we can't even decide what's a disease or an illness or a condition. And we can't really decide what is a cure. Lord help the scientists LOL. I think it underlines how hard it is to cure anything. Perhaps what it all seems this way now is that people now are able to live with what used to kill them so even the term "chronic disease " must be a relative recent term.
     
  14. Lisa P.

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    Yeah, that made me mad too. I can't believe I'm even talking to you. :mad:
     
  15. Mody_Jess_Pony

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    I'm not sure if it was a cure or not but when my sister was diagnosed with autoimune heptitis, and her liver was rejecting her body she was put on immno-supressants, An adults dose prednizone and steriods and today her liver is no longer rejecting her body, and she is considered in complete remission/cured and no longer takes those medications. There is always a chance though I believe that it could happen again? But I'm not sure if thats a cure or a treatment.
    I know on the asthma front and depression front there isn't much push forward for a cure.
     
  16. sassypantz

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    I wouldn't consider an organ transplant a cure for anything, just a treatment (and one with a very high risk of complications). A heart transplant doesn't cure or even heal the diseased heart, it simply replaces it with a substitute.

    To be considered a cure, I would assume the patient no longer has to treat the condition on a regular basis.
     
  17. sooz

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    Im sorry I didnt see this thread before I asked the same question in the other thread. I personally don't believe that a cure for diabetes would be able to restore the body to pre d condition. That is why I think it is important to figure out how to prevent damage to the body from happening before a cure is found. I think some cancers have been cured and I think that antibiotics have cured millions of people of diseases that were deadly to past generations. Today those illnesses are considered minor because of antibiotics. Rickets has been entirely done away with in first world countries.
    I know there must be many other things that have been 'cured' even if you dont count polio, which was the scourge of my own childhood. It was not 'cured' but it was entirely prevented by vaccines. I admit that I lost hope for a while after I read the statement about how nothing has ever been cured..but I dont think that is true.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2011
  18. Marcia

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    People with arthritis have joint replacements which allow them to resume normal, pain free lives. My mother has high blood pressure, while she is not cured, a once-a-day pill keeps it under control. Cataract and Lasik surgery and cochlear implants certainly improve life.
     
  19. Nancy in VA

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    But I would consider a pill the same as insulin. I would consider a cochlear implant not unlike an insulin pump. They have improved the quality of life, and there are different degrees of the intenstity of the treatment, but they aren't cures.

    A lot is being said about replacing parts - it seems that at this point, that is the only real "cure" I've heard. Others are talking about treatments for diseases that used to be dangerous to people that are mere nuisances now. Like Penicillian for certain bacterials illnesses, etc. I guess that's where I'm still trying to understand - are illnesses and diseases the same - are they just synonyms are we just throw them out randomly, or are there illness which are caused by an external entity (bacterial or viral) and diseases that are different? I'm just trying to understand better
     
  20. hawkeyegirl

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    I guess I'd consider cancer the closest disease to diabetes for purposes of this discussion that has been "cured." And obviously there's no cancer that's 100% curable, and some of the "cures" for cancer can have some pretty awful side effects. But obviously even cancer isn't a great parallel.

    JRA, MS, Lupus...I think those diseases can all go into remission with treatment. (Not always, of course, but sometimes.) Maybe that will happen for diabetes - a treatment that will lead to remission for some.

    I don't know. I honestly can't think of a similar disease for which there's been a cure. I consider bacterial infections a different horse altogether.
     

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