NASA Biocapsule technology could cure Type 1 diabetes?

This is an exciting new technology! It is a way to protect transplanted islet cells so that the body can't attack them. Check out the video on how they are made. Question is how long it will take to prove it really works and make it available to the general public?

Here is a excerpt from the article talking about Diabetes use.

On our home planet, the NASA Biocapsule's primary target is diabetes—specifically, patients who need insulin. Says Dr. Loftus:

The capsule would contain pancreatic islet cells (from animals) or would contain engineered cells designed to behave like pancreatic islet cells, with both glucose-sensing and insulin secretion function. Patients with low-insulin requirement might benefit from implantation of a single capsule (containing perhaps a million to 10 million cells); patients with higher insulin requirement might require implantation of more than one capsule.

In other words, diabetes patients might never need to give themselves another shot. They wouldn't have to worry about remembering to bring medicine everywhere, and they might even be free of having to constantly monitor their blood-sugar levels. Plus, many diabetes patients lapse into comas or die during sleep because that's eight hours every day when they can't monitor their levels. The NASA Biocapsules would work automatically, regardless of whether you're awake or not. As of 2010 there were an estimated 285 million people living with diabetes, so saying that this invention could potentially save millions of lives is not an exaggeration.

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Wow, I hope they are successful with that, but I am concerned about the line where it says, "many diabetes patients lapse into comas or die during sleep because that's eight hours every day where they can't monitor their levels". Is that really accurate information? For some reason that line doesn't set well with me and I'm not sure why. It doesn't sound accurate, and if it is, it's frightening. I've known a lot of people besides myself who have diabetes over the years and I have never heard of this happening to anyone, nor has it been a fear expressed by anyone. I'm just concerned that it adds to the mountains of mis-information out there about the disease and further adds to the stigma.

I believe they are referring to diabetics using standard insulin shots. This technology would allow you live the life of someone without diabetes because it would replace the islet cells that non-diabetics have to control glucose levels.

Thanks for the post. There are a lot of things that "could" cure diabetes. Unfortunately we need something that "will" cure diabetes.

Hello Cinderfella,

the JDRF argued that 1 of 20 type 1 diabetics will die in their sleep. In my opinion the JDRF used an unjustified scare tactics here. Of course it does happen without doubt but 1 of 20 (or 5 percent)? Have we seen that many dead TuDiabetes members over the years? No, I doubt it. The campaign does harm our interests but the JDRF seems to use any information that will boost their artificial pancreas project. That this will hurt diabetics on the job market seems none of their business which is very sad. Here you will find some questionable arguments for this campaign.

I have to agree with you Cinderfella. While you can't quantify how many is "many", it does raise my flags of suspicion. I'll allow it, though, since it was written by Gizmodo and not the actual organization trying to promote their research. It does happen at times, but I would consider the way it's written to be sensationalistic and irresponsible journalism.

Any, by the way, in over 30 years with T1, I haven't died or slipped into a coma yet - as far as I can tell. Then again, in the few occasions where I get eight consecutive hours of sleep, I consider myself lucky.

Just passed the 26 year mark myself, and so far no episodes of lost consciousness or coma either. I am very lucky that I seem to have lots of early warning signs if I start to go either too high or too low. And, I seem to get more sensitive rather than less sensitive as the years go by. I hope things continue on this way.

Keep hoping that is the case forever.......
Not fun to be feeling fine with a random blood glucose of 34 mg/dl. Thank goodness I test a lot! Although dead in bed syndrome is not something I used to worry about a whole lot you can bet it is amongst my concerns now. I have absolutely no hope of feeling it sleeping if I don't have a single symptom when I am awake :-(

Encapsulation is not as elegant a solution as stopping the autoimmune attack directly but I'll take it!

You may think this is crazy but I'd almost bet my life savings if all these research groups got together and combined some of their therapies together I believe we'd have a cure of some sort. Like real soon.

This is such an interesting and hopeful post - I would totally opt for one-time implantation over multiple/daily shots! :)

Gary - I think there would be a lot of things cured if there was not so much money in keeping all of these things on the cusp, so keep your savings where it is!

To me this is the most promising "cure" that I've seen so far. This technology could solve the body's rejection of transplanted islet cells (which could be from animals, like cows or pigs). It could also be used to save one's own islet cells, assuming the body hasn't destroyed all the cells from an autoimmune response, which caused most of us to have type 1 diabetes in the first place. Sign me up for the trials as what do I have to risk, as I assume the purpose of this technology is to avoid having to take those dangerous anti-rejection drugs?

Mike F - I agree, I too would sign up for trials...I just find it frustrating how long some these great and promising ideas/'things' sit on the shelves before they really start helping people.




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