Joslin Diabetes Center is constantly pushing the boundaries of research in the search for a cure. Last week, we were as elated as everyone else about the progress reported in the New York Times regarding the implantation of insulin-producing beta cells grown from donor stem cells into a person with type 1 diabetes, resulting in remission of his disease.
While this is an exciting step in the journey toward a cure, it is important for people with type 1 diabetes to understand that it is not a cure. As long as the patient is required to take immunosuppressant medications, which can lead to serious, sometimes life-threatening side effects, this cannot be considered a cure for type 1 diabetes and will be limited in applicability.
Again, it is an important step. Scientists at Joslin, as well as scientists around the world with whom we collaborate, are conducting other diabetes cure research including the implantation of beta cells grown from a patient’s own cells—not just stems cells from donors. The goal for this is that the body may not reject cells grown from a patient’s own cells. Research about how to protect beta cells from the auto-immune attack is also advancing at Joslin. In addition, Joslin’s clinical teams are offering advanced education and treatment options, such as closed-loop insulin delivery technologies, and conducting ongoing clinical research.
Everyone involved in diabetes cure research, inside and outside Joslin, still has a lot of work to do and that’s why we encourage those with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes to check our News and Media web page frequently for updates and context on the latest diabetes research developments.