Insulin Shock

Most of you reading this have experienced insulin shock — for the uninitiated, I’m referring to severe low blood sugar episodes.  They are frightening for both the diabetic and his/her companion(s).

Milwaukee’s newspaper had a lifelong diabetic among its columnists for many years.  His name was Bill Janz, and many of his readers were saddened by his retirement.  But last Sunday we were able to enjoy once more a new Bill Janz column.

In that July 28th column, which you can read at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel website, — www.jsonline.com –  Janz began his description of a particularly severe low blood sugar episode this way:

“My wife could write this; she was there.  I was there too, but I don’t remember anything.  These are my words, this is her memory.  Our hero is Lightning, who barks.”

As you can probably guess, Lightening was the hero in this incident, but just in case you don’t have a Lightening or a Lassie around you twenty-four hours a day, there’s good coverage in the column of the many synptoms of low blood sugar, and hopefully you will be able to recognize them before you lose consciousness.  If you have time, you’ll enjoy reading Mr. Janz’ column at the above web site.

You might also get a current review of the many varied symptoms of low blood sugar at your next endocrine visit or your next visit to your hospital’s diabetes support group.

Meanwhile, with August here, check the Faustman web site’s Support page for the details of any late summer or fall money raising events.                                                    ________________________

For research explanations, please click on the “Archives” at right to find the following entries which explan the Faustman cure now in its Phase 2 of clinical trials at Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital.

June 23, 2012 – Faustman Research BasicsAugust 8. 2011 – Type 1 Diabetes Research at the Faustman Lab

October 2, 2011 – Other Auto Immune Disorders

October 9, 2011 – Breaking Down a Long Held View

October 30, 2011 – Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

March 4, 2012 – Is BCG a Cure for Diabetes?

March 31, 2012 – March Update on Faustman Research

June 9, 2012 – June Update on Faustman Research

June 16, 2012 – Frequently Asked Questions

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The web site of the Massachusetts General Hospital’s BCG research is :       www.faustmanlab.org

To contribute to the Faustman BCG cure of Type 1 diabetes:

Checks should be made payable to “Massachusetts General Hospital – Faustman Research.” Please include  “Cure Diabetes Now Fund” in the memo line.

Mail checks to:                                                                                                                              MGH Immunobiology Laboratory                                                                              Attn: Dr. Denise Faustman                                                                      Massachusetts General Hospital-East                                                              Building 149, 13th Street, CNY-3601                                                             Charlestown, MA 02129

Credit Card or Wire Transfer: See www.faustmanlab.org/support

Fundraising Events:

To get started with an event, please visit the Special Events page on Mass General Hospital’s Giving web site. You can also e-mail the MGH Development Office with any questions you may have.

Other Fundraising Suggestions:     See: www.faustmanlab.org/support                             and the end of this blog’s April 21st entry.

Please add any new ideas you have in that post’s Comment section by clicking on the word “Comments” in the list of words at the end of that entry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Are you a Medalist?

The Joslin Clinic, a Boston clinic that specializes in diabetes, has had a program for a number of years now that has been testing type 1 diabetics who have lived with the disease for fifty or more years, to see what they have in common that might affect longevity.  Surprising to me, when I received the report from my visit, was the fact that several of the fifty-year survivors had signs in their blood that they were still producing beta cells, the insulin producing cells of the pancreas.  Most type 1 diabetics continue to produce these cells long after they have been diagnosed, but because their immune systems are continually killing off these beta cells, the type 1 diabetic needs the regualr injections of insulin. Eventually, the long term diabetic stops producing the beta cells. (At present, the insulin we inject is human, but back in the 50’s, when I was first diagnosed, type ones were given refined insulin taken from pigs.  Gross, eh?!!  Is it any wonder we went through hellish lows?)

Participation in the Medalist project consists of filling out forms and visiting the Boston clinic for a few hours of testing.   (Ask your diabetic specialist to contact them if you have not heard of this program and are eligible.)  In 2012 the Joslin Clinic’s Medalist report offered this help for those of you who have participated in their program:

“A number of you have asked us to develop improved methods of meeting and keeping in touch with other Medalists from your area and around the country.  Please feel free to visit our website, http://www.joslin.org/joslin medalist program.html.  From our webpage you can access message boards that will allow you to post informatioin and ask questions of other individuals in the program. We are always happy to receive news, updates, and photos from Medalists — if you’d like us to include anything on the website, please let us know!”

Those of you newer to the disease might consider using the groups’ combined knowledge and experience to help you figure out things that have been difficult for you.  Just contact their website.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      _______________________________

Below is a list of previous entries from this blog that explain Dr. Faustman’s Bacillus Camette-Guerin research, as well as the address of the Faustman Lab for any financial donations you are able to make.  To get to the previous blogs, use the Archives list to the right.

June 23, 2012 – Faustman Research Basics

August 8. 2011 – Type 1 Diabetes Research at the Faustman Lab

October 2, 2011 – Other Auto Immune Disorders

October 9, 2011 – Breaking Down a Long Held View

October 30, 2011 – Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

March 4, 2012 – Is BCG a Cure for Diabetes?

March 31, 2012 – March Update on Faustman Research

June 9, 2012 – June Update on Faustman Research

June 16, 2012 – Frequently Asked Questions

The web site of the Massachusetts General Hospital’s BCG research is                                                                                www.faustmanlab.org

Contributing to the Faustman BCG cure of Type 1 diabetes:

Checks should be made payable to “Massachusetts General Hospital – Faustman Research.” Please include  “Cure Diabetes Now Fund” in the memo line.              Mail checks to:                                                                                                      MGH Immunobiology Laboratory                                                                               Attn: Dr. Denise Faustman                                                                                   Massachusetts General Hospital-East                                                                      Building 149, 13th Street, CNY-3601                                                                      Charlestown, MA 02129

Credit Card or Wire Transfer: See www.faustmanlab.org/support

Fundraising Events:

To get started with an event, please visit the Special Events page on Mass General Hospital’s Giving web site. You can also e-mail the MGH Development Office with any questions you may have.

Other Fundraising Suggestions:     See: www.faustmanlab.org/support                             and the end of this blog’s April 21st entry.

Please add any new ideas you have in that post’s Comment section by clicking on the word “Comments” in the list of words at the end of that entry.

 

 

 

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COMMENTS

A comment was submitted in April quoting the negative opinion of a Joahua Levy about Dr. Faustman’s BCG diabetes cure research, found on the Levy website, http://cureresearch4type1diabetes.blogspot.com.  Levy stated that Pharmaceutical company money is not necessary to get research through the four trials required by the FDA.  He cited a list of rersearch projects that have reached phase 2 testing that are not funded by big Pharma.

According to Mr. Levy, because these trials of non-pharmaceutical company products are going on at the Phase 2 level of human testing, there is no funding problem for them and therefore, apparently, Dr. Faustman’s BCG diabetes cure research does not need your fundraising efforts.  It would be interesting to know if any of the research trials he listed actually have enough funding to reach the end of Phase 2, because, if you remember from one of my earlier blogs, a scientist who moved from an academic lab to a lab at a pharmaceutical company reported that Phase 2 is “where many highly plausible cures go to die” if they are not funded by pharmaceutical companies.  So I am hoping Mr. Levy’s blog will follow up on the many research projects he listed as having no pharmaceutical connections that have actually completed Phase 2 and are now in Phase 3.

Meanwhile,  for those of you with more common sense, here is a list of the various explanations of Dr, Faustman’s research and the dates you can go to — listed in the Archives list at the right– to review the basics.  Below that is the address for your contributions to the Faustman Lab at Massachusetts General Hospital.

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For research explanations, please click on the “Archives” at right to find the following entries which explan the Faustman cure now in its Phase 2 of clinical trials at Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital.

June 23, 2012 – Faustman Research Basics

August 8. 2011 – Type 1 Diabetes Research at the Faustman Lab

October 2, 2011 – Other Auto Immune Disorders

October 9, 2011 – Breaking Down a Long Held View

October 30, 2011 – Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

March 4, 2012 – Is BCG a Cure for Diabetes?

March 31, 2012 – March Update on Faustman Research

June 9, 2012 – June Update on Faustman Research

June 16, 2012 – Frequently Asked Questions

The web site of the Massachusetts General Hospital’s BCG research is                                                                         www.faustmanlab.org                                                          ________________________

Contributing to the Faustman BCG Cure of Type 1 Diabetes               Donations:                                                                                                          Checks should be made payable to “Massachusetts General Hospital – Faustman Research.” Please include  “Cure Diabetes Now Fund” in the memo line.                                                                                                                        Mail checks to:                                                                                                     MGH Immunobiology Laboratory                                                                             Attn: Dr. Denise Faustman                                                                                    Massachusetts General Hospital-Eadt                                                                      Building 149, 13th Street, CNY-3601                                                                      Charlestown, MA 02129

Credit Card or Wire Transfer: See www.faustmanlab.org/support

Fundraising Events: Getting Started:                                                                               To get started with an event, please visit the Special Events page on Mass General Hospital’s Giving web site. You can also e-mail the MGH Development Office with any questions you may have.

Other Fundraising Suggestions:     See: www.faustmanlab.org/support                              and the end of this blog’s April 21st entry.

Please add any new ideas you have in that post’s Comment section by clicking on the word “Comments” in the list of words at the end of the entry. Remember, I will not publish or sell your e-mail address.

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Other Exciting Research Developments

On “NBC Nightly News,” Brian Williams has twice reported exciting information about new type 1 diabetes cure experiments.

The first broadcast, in 2010, covered a human drug trial in Brazil, a trial considered unsafe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration because it has not progressed through enough animal trials.

The second experiment, reported on last November, is taking place here in the United States, but it is still in mouse trials  Because this experiment deals with two drugs that are still covered by pharmaceutical company patents, there will be corporate funding to pave its way to market. This means only the Faustman Lab’s BCG cure of type 1 diabetes needs our financial support, so we are indeed fortunate.

Much can be learned from each of these three studies, and even if the U.S. mice trials are not successful enough to make it to human testing, or the Brazil human trials prove to be unsafe, the collection of information from all these studies will help us understand more about the disease as well as just what aspect of it is being affected by each drug, how one drug may improve when combined with another, etc., etc.  Every new step brings the medical world closer to the cure.  However, please remember that each stage, particularly the human trial stages, are long and some diabetics curable this year may not still be able to be cured six or ten years down the line.  I myself, after fifty years of the disease, was tested in the study the Joslin Clinic of Boston was doing at that time and found to be no longer making beta cells.  However, there were a small number of fifty year diabetics in that Joslin study who were still making them and therefore might have been possible candidates for the Faustman cure.  That isn’t to say that the research has worked on anyone with the disease that long, only that it cannot work on me but there are many newer diabetics for whom it might work and the sooner the money for Phase 2′s trial can be raised, the more diabetics who will have that chance.

Here are the two video sites.  (I apologize for not knowing how to make them clickably accessible, but I’m hoping you can copy each and paste it onto your web address line.)

www.nbcnews.com/video/nightly-news/27774326

www.youtube.com/watch?v=4USOx3hAJc

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You will find a review list of blog entries that explain Dr. Faustman’s Bacillus Calmette-guerin research at the end of the last blog entry, May 17th.  Thank you to all who have been working to raise money and/or making your own personal contributions to the Massachusetts General Hospital’s Faustman Lab.

Donations:    Checks should be made payable to “Massachusetts General Hospital – Faustman Research.”

Please include  “Cure Diabetes Now Fund” in the memo line.

Mail checks to:                                                                                                                     MGH Immunobiology Laboratory                                                                             Attn: Dr. Denise Faustman                                                                                     Massachusetts General Hospital-East                                                                      Building 149, 13th Street, CNY-3601                                                                     Charlestown, MA 02129

Credit Card or Wire Transfer: Please see www.faustmanlab.org/support

 

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BCG Research Review: Type 1 Diabetes Cure

I am taking a brief break from blogging, during which you can find, in the blog entries listed below, various reviews and explanations of Dr. Faustman’s research, as well as fundraising ideas to help prevent this research from going the way of other Phase 2 research that reaches this phase only to die because of the lack of drug company funding.  It’s not going to be easy to raise the ten million dollars still needed to finish the third and final year of the Phase 2 human trials.  But once research gets through Phase 2 with some success, government fuding becomes more available, as do other fund sources.  So let’s continue to do our best to hold fundraisers or to participate in those held by others in places we can get to.

Until I return, God bless your efforts in this area!

For research explanations, please click on the “Archives” at right to find the following entries which explan the Faustman cure now in its Phase 2 of clinical trials at Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital.

June 23, 2012 – Faustman Research Basics

August 8. 2011 – Type 1 Diabetes Research at the Faustman Lab

October 2, 2011 – Other Auto Immune Disorders

October 9, 2011 – Breaking Down a Long Held View

October 30, 2011 – Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

March 4, 2012 – Is BCG a Cure for Diabetes?

March 31, 2012 – March Update on Faustman Research

June 9, 2012 – June Update on Faustman Research

June 16, 2012 – Frequently Asked Questions

The web site of the Massachusetts General Hospital’s BCG research is                                                                                www.faustmanlab.org                                                                                   ________________________

Contributing to the Faustman BCG Cure of Type 1 Diabetes 

Donations:

Checks should be made payable to “Massachusetts General Hospital – Faustman Research.” Please include  “Cure Diabetes Now Fund” in the memo line.

Mail checks to:

MGH Immunobiology Laboratory                                                                                 Attn: Dr. Denise Faustman                                                                                    Massachusetts General Hospital-Eadt                                                                      Building 149, 13th Street, CNY-3601                                                                      Charlestown, MA 02129

Credit Card or Wire Transfer: See www.faustmanlab.org/support

Fundraising Events: Getting Started

To get started with an event, please visit the Special Events page on Mass General Hospital’s Giving web site. You can also e-mail the MGH Development Office with any questions you may have.

Other Fundraising Suggestions:     See: www.faustmanlab.org/support                              and the end of this blog’s April 21st entry.

Please add any new ideas you have in that post’s Comment section by clicking on the word “Comments” in the list of words at the end of the entry. Remember, I will not publish or sell your e-mail address.

 

 

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Writing Letters and Raising Funds

Last week I told you about the refusal of the JDRF to fund the human trials of the BCG cure for type 1 diabetes.  After sending the CEO/President the following letter requesting information, it has been four weeks with no response.  That’s why I think a rush of letters to the same person will be needed in order to get some response.

So here it is.  Feel free to adjust the wording to suit your own writing style.                                        _____________________

Jeffrey Brewer, President and CEO                                                                                             Juvenile Diabetes Reserch Foundation                                                                        26 Broadway                                                                                                                New York, NY 10004

Dear Mr. Brewer:

I would like to know if your organization is finally supporting — at some level — the work of Dr. Denise Faustman, who is conducting the Phase 2 human trials of the Bacillus Calmette Guerin cure of Type 1 diabetes.  By “supporting” I do not mean by repeating her earlier animal experiments in an attempt to disprove her theories, as you did when her experiments were first reported, but rather, that your organization is supporting the present, human, Phase 2 trials.  If so, I want to let my readers know, and if not, I want to let my readers know that also.

My family and I have been longtime former members of JDRF, and look forward to re-joining what I have always considered an excellent organization, but until I know that at least some of the money contributed to you by diabetics and their loved ones is going to the Faustman Lab at Massachusetts General Hospital, I cannot, in good conscience, rejoin.

Thank you for your speedy response.

Sincerely,

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Here’s another idea for raising funds for the BCG cure of type 1 diabetes. (For those not familiar with this research, visit the Archives. There you will find an explanation of the reseaarch in the Jamuary 1, 2012 blog)

 

Flowers for Faustman

Help researchers cure diabetes and help 100s of young adults like my sister  Jennifer Niedrich

My sister was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2003. Everyone who has this awful disease must inject insulin and their scars are proof of the pain they must bear everyday. She’ll age out of her health insurance soon and as a recent college grad with student loans, she’ll have nothing left for health care. She can’t afford to live with this disease, so please help us find a cure!

In 2001, the Faustman Lab reversed Type 1 Diabetes in mice, a project that is now in human clinical trials. Dr. Faustman’s current research continues to focus on new treatments and cures. They’ve raised $13.5 million for the Phase II BCG human clinical trial, but they need $25.2 million. You can help accelerate this research with a donation that will directly support this goal. Donate online using the form below, or attend:

My Flowers for Faustman Mother’s Day Plant Sale,
Saturday, May 11, 2013
Weichertt Realtors                                                                                                     2110 W. County Line Road                                                                                          Jackson, N.J.

Call Jennifer Niedrach for more info: 732-513-2333

Thank You for Your Support!

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Raising Funds for the Faustman BCG Cure of Type 1 Diabetes 

Donations:    Checks should be made payable to “Massachusetts General Hospital – Faustman Research.”

Please include  “Cure Diabetes Now Fund” in the memo line.

Mail checks to:                                                                                                                        MGH Immunobiology Laboratory                                                                Attn: Dr. Denise Faustman                                                                          Massachusetts General Hospital-East                                                          Building 149, 13th Street, CNY-3601                                                          Charlestown, MA 02129

Credit Card or Wire Transfer: Please see www.faustmanlab.org/support

Fundraising Events: Getting Started

To get started with an event, please visit the Special Events page on Mass General Hospital’s Giving web site. You can also e-mail the MGH Development Office with any questions you may have.

 

 

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“Why Did the JDRF Try to Discredit Cure Research?”

I want to share with you this week an article about the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s failure to support the human trials of Dr. Faustman’s BCG cure of Type 1 diabetes.  It’s not a recent article, as you can see from the date, but it reveals a lot about the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. I came across it this week at the web site of the Diabetes Health Magazine. which published the article in 2005. Here is that web site address, for those of you not familiar with it:

www.diabeteshealth.com/read/2005/05/01/4126/why-did-the-jdrf-try-to-discredit-cure-research/?isComment=1#comments

Next week I will post a copy of my letter to the head of the organization, Jeffrey Brewer.  It may give you ideas of what you might also write him in order to get updated information about their recent policy regarding support for Dr, Faustman.  So far — after 15 days — I have not received any response, but the more letters JDRF receives, the more likely we are to make the leaders of the organization re-think their choices.  After all, the donors of their funds should have some say.

Why Did the JDRF Try to Discredit Cure Research?”                                           By Martin Jensen –  May 1, 2005

Denise Faustman, MD, reversed type 1 in mice. When she approached the JDRF with a request to replicate the research in humans, the reviewers took a pass.

Arguably the most influential voice in diabetes research is the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). They award more than 500 research grants in all.

In recent years, the JDRF has focused its funding on two areas: embryonic stem cell research and islet transplantation. The organization spent $1 million last year in the campaign to pass Proposition 71, California’s embryonic stem cell research initiative, and sent representatives to Washington to lobby the federal government to loosen its restrictions on embryonic stem cell research.

But there are many who question the notion that a cure lies in the direction of transplantation.

Among the concerns with a “transplant cure” are the need for an ongoing regimen of volatile anti-rejection drugs and the availability and expense of donor beta cells.

Even if these challenges can be overcome, another issue lurks in the background. After a transplant, the autoimmune disease that caused diabetes in the first place may attack and kill the newly transplanted islet cells. According to some observers, the uneven long-term success rates of early transplant recipients might be due to such a latent autoimmune response.

The Plight of Denise Faustman

Diabetes Health has been following the research of Denise Faustman, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston since her research into this autoimmune process was published in the November 14, 2003 issue of Science.

Faustman’s research reversed type 1 in mice by identifying the immune system defect involved in the destruction of insulin-producing cells and developing a therapy to stop the autoimmune system from attacking these cells. Using spleen cells from non diabetic mice, the researchers were able to stop the destruction of islets in the immune systems of diabetic mice.

When Faustman approached the JDRF with a request to replicate the research in humans (which would cost millions of dollars), the reviewers took a pass. This should come as no surprise, however, as the JDRF approves 500 grants a year but has to say no to many more.

And Faustman’s approach was unconventiona, some would even say revolutionary. So the JDRF’s reluctance to fund her research might be understandable.

The New York Times Article and the Reaction

What may be more difficult to explain, however, is the foundation’s response to an article in the November 9, 2004, issue of The New York Times. In the article “I Beg to Differ: A Diabetes Researcher Forges Her Own Path to a Cure,” journalist Gina Kolata addressed Faustman’s inability to secure funding for her research through backers that included pharmaceutical companies and the JDRF. Kolata said that the reason for the resistance was simple: “ . . . her findings, which raise the possibility that an inexpensive, readily available drug might effectively treat type 1 or juvenile diabetes, challenge widespread assumptions. Many diabetes researchers insist that a cure lies instead in research on stem cells and islet cell transplants.”

Two members of the diabetes community, Diane Mathis, MD, and Christopher Benoist, MD, both scientific colleagues of Faustman at Harvard Medical School, read Kolata’s article and were upset enough to send a letter to the editors.

Both Mathis and Benoist hold prestigious positions at the JDRF Center for Islet Transplantation at Harvard Medical School. In their letter, they write: “This piece claims that Dr. Denise Faustman of Massachusetts General Hospital has, revolutionarily, cured mice of type 1 diabetes and insinuates that, were it not for the jealousy of scientific colleagues and the conflict of interest of funding agencies, would be testing her proven method in human diabetes patients. We would like to refute some of the more glaring of the many incorrect statements underlying these claims . . .”

The letter also contained assertions and implications that Faustman’s earlier research efforts, published in the June 21, 1991, issue of Science and the December 1999 issue of Molecular and Cellular Biolog, had not been repeatable.

The editors at The New York Times declined to print the letter from Mathis and Benoist. In reply to a request by Diabetes Health, a New York Times editor explained, “After receiving the letter from Dr. Mathis and Dr. Benoist, we did contact Dr. Denise Faustman for her response, as we would contact anyone who was the subject of such charges. After examining the letter, the response and other material, we concluded that there was nothing in the article that warranted a correction.”

The JDRF Sends an E-Mail

When The New York Times did not publish the Mathis- Benoist critique, the JDRF decided to take matters into its own hands.

Richard Insel, MD, executive vice president for research at the JDRF, circulated an e-mail to JDRF chapters around the country containing the unpublished Mathis and Benoist letter.

Merrill Goozner, director of the Integrity in Science Project for The Center for Science in the Public Interest, is disturbed by the JDRF going to these lengths to discredit Faustman.

“It is shocking to see that scientists, rather than evaluating something on its merits, would spend so much time attacking the messenger. You have to wonder, what is their real motivation? You would think that scientists connected with the JDRF would be pursuing every effective cure, not attacking approaches that rival their own.”

Not Funding Faustman’s Research, But Replicating It

Though the JDRF repeatedly chose not to fund Faustman’s research and subsequently criticized its merit, they have swiftly moved to replicate it. New projects are underway by a number of JDRF-funded researchers to demonstrate the mechanisms for pancreatic cell regeneration.

Diane Mathis herself is heading up a new $5 million JDRF project: Islet Regeneration During Reversal of Autoimmune Diabetes in NOD Mice. Curiously, the name of this study is nearly identical to the title of the paper Faustman published in the November 14, 2003 issue of Science: “Islet Regeneration During the Reversal of Autoimmune Diabetes in NOD Mice.”

Another interesting detail appears in the JDRF’s IRS 990 form for the 2002 tax year. This is the annual tax return required of nonprofit organizations. Unlike personal returns, the 990 is a matter of public record.

To determine whether a particular organization is worthy of their financial support, major donors closely scrutinize the full content of such returns. In an attachment labeled “Grants and Allocations,” the JDRF could have chosen to feature any of its 500 grantees. Instead, the first item in the first column of the first page reproduced from JDRF e- Newsletter #36 states, “A research team . . . headed by Denise Faustman, MD, PhD, reports it has reversed type 1 diabetes in mice . . . ”

The JDRF had plenty of success stories in stem cell research and transplant therapy. But they chose to give headline space in a section devoted to grants and allocations to a researcher they had repeatedly declined to fund. It may be worth noting that the JDRF return for tax year 2002 was filed on February 11, 2004—three months after Faustman’s Science article appeared.

Questions Left Unanswered

It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that’s the case, the JDRF may have changed its tune regarding Faustman. Their March 2, 2005, announcement of an international “dream team” to study the regeneration of islets may indicate a positive development in the search for a cure. But for the millions affected by this disease, the pattern of their recent actions may raise questions that aren’t answered in their press releases or fundraising brochures.                                                                  _____________________

Now back to the present, 2013.   There is still no evidence that the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation has begun funding the Faustman BCG cure research.

Please continue to write to the present JDRF president, Jeffrey Brewer, to express your disappointment in his organization and to request that he use at least your donation to help make the BCG cure a reality.

Jeffrey Brewer, President and CEO                                                                                                     Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation                                                                                26 Broadway                                                                                                                   New York, NY 10004 .

 

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EXCITING NEWS

This week National Public Radio reported exciting news for diabetics, possibly for both type 1s and type 2s:

“Researchers Find Hormone  That Grows Insulin-Producing Cells”                                 “Health News from NPR”    by RICHARD KNOX                                                               April 25, 2013 4:13 PM

A newly found hormone revs up production of cells that make insulin — the very kind that people with advanced diabetes lack.

Harvard scientists, reporting the discovery Thursday in Cell, call the hormone betatrophin because it stimulates the production of beta cells in the pancreas. These cells make insulin, which the body needs to control blood sugar. (“Trophin” comes from “nourishing” in Greek.)

When researchers turned on the betatrophin gene in the livers of diabetic lab mice, the number of beta cells in their pancreas glands tripled within 10 days and their blood sugar went down.

Humans have betatrophin genes too, as do all mammals. So Harvard’s Doug Melton thinks he’s got his hands on something that just might get at a root cause of diabetes.

“I’m very excited about it,” Melton tells Shots. “It isn’t every day one discovers a new hormone — especially one that affects the cell I’m obsessed with, the beta cell.”

He’s not alone. Mary-Elizabeth Patti of the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, who wasn’t involved in the work but is familiar with the findings, also calls the discovery exciting.

“I’m sure this will stimulate a lot of work to look at effects of this protein and rapidly investigate whether this could be a new approach to treating diabetes,” Patti tells Shots.

Human experiments with betatrophin are several years off — perhaps five years, Melton guesses.

First, researchers need to make the hormone in large amounts, then show it works consistently and safely in animals. But at this early stage, hopes are running high.

“If I’m right,” Melton says, “you would inject this hormone once a month or once a year, give yourself new beta cells, and they would then very accurately control blood sugars by instantaneously producing just the right amount of insulin. They should reduce the complications of your disease because you’re back to the normal control of your blood sugar.”

Patti cautions that “it’s rare there’s a single unique hormone that does everything.” And she wonders whether people with Type 2 diabetes, who are resistant to insulin, make betatrophin in normal amounts.

“If someone is insulin-resistant, why wouldn’t he make more of this protein and respond to it?” Patti asks. “The question is: Do diabetics make sufficient amounts of this hormone or not? And if they do, do they respond to it or are they resistant to it?”

Melton acknowledges that his scenario of curing diabetes with periodic doses of betatrophin “is the dream of what would happen.”

“Let’s also remember that at the beginning of new discovery, people like me are always very optimistic,” Melton says. “I’m also cognizant of the fact that it could get complicated.” He notes that leptin, another hormone, was supposedly going to cure obesity when it was discovered in 1994. But it hasn’t worked out that way.

For the past decade, Melton and his colleagues at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute have been pursuing a very different diabetes-cure strategy: tricking stem cells to morph into pancreatic beta cells. That work continues, and he hopes in the next year or so to report “that we’re making bucket loads” of beta cells derived from stem cells.

But meanwhile, the group decided to explore what happens when mice are given a synthetic peptide, developed some years back by the firm Novo Nordisk, that blocks insulin receptors. Would mice given this peptide, called S961, compensate by making more insulin?

“We thought the mouse’s beta cells would either work harder to produce more insulin or really boost beta cell replication,” Melton says.

Luckily for them, mice given S961 promptly started making more beta cells. So then the researchers looked in various tissues — fat, liver, muscle, brain — to see what genes were turned on.

“What popped out near the top of the list of the most abundantly activated genes was this gene that no one had really studied, that we called betatrophin,” Melton says.

Within a day or so after its release, the hormone boosts beta cell replication up to thirtyfold. And it doesn’t seem to do anything else. That’s important because it lowers the risk that betatrophin would cause unwanted side effects or even, in the worst case, promote cancer.

One intriguing discovery so far is that the betatrophin gene gets turned on in pregnant mice. That makes sense, since pregnancy requires a boost in insulin to enable the mother to keep blood sugar levels normal in the face of an increased carbohydrate load.

The Harvard researchers don’t know yet if pregnant humans produce more betatrophin, but they plan to find out.

They’re also planning an ambitious agenda of follow-on experiments. First, they want to figure out how betatrophin works and look for the receptor on pancreas and possibly other cells that the hormone activates. “We don’t need the receptor” to pursue treatment possibilities, Melton says, “but we would like to have it.”

Second, they want to make betatrophin in large amounts for further mouse and eventually human experiments.

Third, they want to give betatrophin to rodents with diabetes — not just genetically induced disease, but diabetes caused by overfeeding animals to make them obese, the way that Type 2 diabetes is caused in humans.

They hope that giving such animals betatrophin will not only normalize their blood sugars, but also prevent the heart, blood vessel, nerve and immune system complications that shorten the lives of people with diabetes. Only that would be a true cure.

By the way, Melton thinks that betatrophin might prevent Type 1 diabetes, too, the type that generally arises earlier in life after an overactive immune system destroys beta cells.

To do that, you’d have to identify people at risk of developing Type 1 diabetes — for instance, because a sibling already had it — and monitor them for signs they were getting it too, then giving betatrophin along with immune-suppressing drugs to halt the disease in its tracks.

Melton ticks off the pluses and minuses at this early stage. “On the positive side, betatrophin is very robust in its activity, it’s very specific to beta cells, it improves animals’ handling of blood sugar, and the human gene for it is virtually identical to the mouse gene,” Melton says.

“On the negative side, we don’t know its mechanism of action and we haven’t yet demonstrated its safety and efficacy in humans,” he says.

There are enough positives at this point that betatrophin has already been licensed by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a division of Johnson & Johnson, and a German biotech firm called Evotec, which already has 15 scientists working on betatrophin.

If Melton’s wishes pan out, a percentage of the huge potential profits would go not to him, he says, but to Harvard and his lab.

___________________________

Both this research along with that of Dr. Faustman, another Harvard researcher, give us good reason to hope that those we love who have had diabetes for a number of years might see a much brighter future.  Remember, in the Phase 1 human trial of Faustman’s BCG cure, the average age of the small number of those cured was 15 years, and the cure lasted only several weeks.  But now her Phase 2 trial, using a larger number of type 1 diabetic humans, will be experimenting with dosages and timing, all of which are reason to hope that human cures will eventually be of longer duration.

Also keep in mind that this second avenue to a cure, though it has not yet been tried with humans also sounds very promising because it has something the Faustman research does not: It is being financed by a drug company, a division of Johnson and Johnson, so it does not need our help financially the way the BCG cure research does.  Fortunately , we will learn much from both of them.

___________________________

 

Raising Funds for the Faustman BCG Cure of Type 1 Diabetes 

 

Donations:    Checks should be made payable to “Massachusetts General Hospital – Faustman Research.”

Please include  “Cure Diabetes Now Fund” in the memo line.

Mail checks to:                                                                                                                        MGH Immunobiology Laboratory                                                                Attn: Dr. Denise Faustman                                                                          Massachusetts General Hospital-East                                                          Building 149, 13th Street, CNY-3601                                                          Charlestown, MA 02129

 

Credit Card or Wire Transfer: Please see www.faustmanlab.org/support

Fundraising Events: Getting Started

To get started with an event, please visit the Special Events page on Mass General Hospital’s Giving web site. You can also e-mail the MGH Development Office with any questions you may have.

Other Fundraising Suggestions:  See both:www.faustmanlab.org/support                              and the end of the April 21st blog entry.

Raising Funds for the Faustman BCG Cure of Type 1 Diabetes 

Donations:    Checks should be made payable to “Massachusetts General Hospital – Faustman Research.”

Please include  “Cure Diabetes Now Fund” in the memo line.

Mail checks to:                                                                                                                        MGH Immunobiology Laboratory                                                                Attn: Dr. Denise Faustman                                                                          Massachusetts General Hospital-East                                                          Building 149, 13th Street, CNY-3601                                                          Charlestown, MA 02129

Credit Card or Wire Transfer: Please see www.faustmanlab.org/support

 

Fundraising Events: Getting Started

To get started with an event, please visit the Special Events page on Mass General Hospital’s Giving web site. You can also e-mail the MGH Development Office with any questions you may have.

Other Fundraising Suggestions:  See both:www.faustmanlab.org/support                              and the end of the April 21st blog entry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ways to Support the Faustman BCG Cure of Type 1 Diabetes

Here in Wisconsin we had snow this weekend, but the land fought back and instead of seeing piles of snow outside the window, there is greener grass every day.  Like the city of Boston, Mother Nature is recovering.  Spring does so much for one’s disposition!  That makes it a perfect time for fundraisiing. So let’s think positively:

1.  The Phase 2 human trial of Dr. Faustman’s very possible cure of type 1 diabetes, even if it disappoints us by curing only a few diabetics, as it did in the Phase 1 trial, will reveal many new things about the disease that will bring us closer to the cure.

2. Even though much research that reaches Phase 2 trials, if not financed by drug companies, will run out of the money needed to survive, the Faustman research has many groups of people throughout the U.S. working to raise funds.  Some of those fundraisers have been listed on this blog.  For others , see Dr. Faustman’s Facebook page on which I found this fundraiser last week:

“Spotlight on Supporters from Montgomery, Texas 

“In looking for a way to raise money for the Faustman Lab’s type 1 diabetes research—one that would also raise disease awareness among students and faculty at their local elementary school—a family from Montgomery, Texas came up with a fun idea: Crazy Sock Day. Students and faculty could wear their craziest, most colorful, wildest patterned socks.”

Now that’s an idea that would appeal to me!                                                                                                                                                                                                       _______________________

From the Lab’z Facebook site:  

“Help Support a Cure for Diabetes

“The Faustman Lab depends on the support of people like you. You can help spread the word about the potentially life-saving work being conducted by the Faustman Lab using our fundraising brochure. To get started, just download a copy, print it out and share it with friends and family.

“Download the brochure:     Large file size, 3.9 mb [pdf]                                                                           Small file size, 644 kb [pdf]”

______________________

FOR PERSONAL DONATIONS:

Checks should be made payable to “Massachusetts General Hospital – Faustman Research.”

Please include  “Cure Diabetes Now Fund” in the memo line.

Mail checks to:                                                                                                                        MGH Immunobiology Laboratory                                                                      Attn: Dr. Denise Faustman                                                                                  Massachusetts General Hospital-East                                                                 Building 149, 13th Street, CNY-3601                                                                 Charlestown, MA 02129

Credit Card or Wire Transfer: Please see www.faustmanlab.org/support

Now have an absolutely wonderful, intoxicating Spring, all you diabetics and those who love them!


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NEW INSPIRATION ?

Last week I gave you information about a flower show and sale being held to raise funds for the BCG cure of type 1 diabetes.  (Check this blog’s Archives for the March 4, 2012 and/or June 23, 2012 blog entries for a review of the basics of this research.)   This fundraiseer is being conducted by Jennifer Niedrach in Jackson, New Jersey in May.

Such a fundraiser is an excellent idea for spring!  Let’s see if together we can come up with a list of other possible fundraisers for spring or summer.  I’m talking about ideas, now, not fully organized and scheduled fundraisers, though information about those would be wonderful to hear about too, and I’m hoping to be able to give you a list of those in a later blog entry.  Some of you may not have time to organize and plan such events, but if the ideas come in, someone else in your area can contact you through this blog to volunteer their help.  So please give the city and state where you reside or where the fundraiser could be held. (Since I do not ordinarily give e-mail addresses from your “Comments,”  be sure to tell me to include yours, if you want to get feedback directly from the possible volunteers.  To list your ideas, click on the word “Comments” in the list of words at the end of this blog entry.

Dr. Faustman’s Phase 2 human trial of the BCG cure for type 1 diabetes still needs to raise close to half of the $25 million to cover the last two years of this three year trial. Also please remember that Phase 2 in drug trials has been called “the place where cures not funded by pharmaceutical companies often go to die.”  We can’t blame the dug companies, since Bacillus Calmette-guerin is a generic drug (no longer under a patent belonging to a single drug company), so the income from it will be small and available to any company, just as aspirin is.  Thus the drug companies owe it to their shareholders to invest in the testing of drugs for which they hold a patent so that they can make a higher profit in return for the research money they spend.

So let’s get our fountain of ideas flowing!  And after this past week’s storms, let’s hope we will soon see signs of flowers budding and weather suitable for such fundraisers.                                                                                                                                                                   _________________________

Donations for the Faustman BCG Cure of Type 1 Diabetes 

Checks should be made payable to “Massachusetts General Hospital – Faustman Research.”

Please include  “Cure Diabetes Now Fund” in the memo line.

Mail checks to:                                                                                                                    MGH Immunobiology Laboratory                                                                                   Attn: Dr. Denise Faustman                                                                               Massachusetts General Hospital-East                                                                       Building 149, 13th Street, CNY-3601                                                                     Charlestown, MA 02129

Credit Card or Wire Transfer: Please see www.faustmanlab.org/support

 

 

 

 

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