Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Possible Cures for Type-1 in the News (late June)

Low Dose Naltrexone starts a Phase-I Trial

Naltrexone was approved in 1984 for use in treating heroin addiction, but was never widely used, because of strong side effects.  The low dosage level is one tenth the dose approved, so it is much lower, and doesn't have these strong side effects. Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) is undergoing several clinical studies aimed at different diseases.

Here is how the researchers describe this trial:
The purpose of this early study is to see if a drug called naltrexone should be studied more in people with Type I diabetes and hypoglycemia unawareness. This study will show whether naltrexone could reduce hypoglycemia unawareness. The study will also show, by using magnetic resonance imaging (also called MRI), whether naltrexone changes the way blood flows in the brain when a person is experiencing hypoglycemia.
I'm not sure if I'm going to follow this trial as a potential cure, because it seems to be focused very specifically on "hypoglycemia unawareness", and that is not a cure.  On the other hand I mention it here, because I know that some people are very interested in Low Dose Naltrexone, and it is the first time LDN has been tried on type-1 diabetes.  Unfortunately, they are going going to be measuring blood flow in the brain, and too-low blood sugar events.  Some people think that LDN might result in lower insulin requirements, and producing more natural insulin.  However, this trial is unlikely to detect that (unless they test for more things than are mentioned in their clinical trial record). 

Clinical trial:
Facebook group: 

LCT's DIABCELL: Two Year Delay to General Availability

Dr. Elliot (a major player at LCT) said in a public forum:
"We do not anticipate being in the clinic before 2013 and even then in a very limited way."   Source:
This is a two year delay compared to their previous statement (in a yearly report) saying that they hoped to be doing transplants in Russia by 2011.

Also, LCT made a very nice presentation at ADA, which you can see here:
The really interesting slides start on page 30 and runs to the end (although slides 22 and 27 aren't bad, either).

Artificial Pancreas Photo
Here is a link to a "puff piece" in a Boston newspaper about the "bihormonal" (glucagon and insulin) AP work:
The reason I include it is because it starts out with a big photo of a person with this AP.  Notice the five different "sets" on the person's abdomen.  It's a good reminder of where AP is and is not. How far we have come with an AP, and have far we have yet to go.

Dr. Ward's Artificial Pancreas Trials
This newspaper article describes some AP trials being done in Oregon, USA:,1359773.html

These guys are testing a bihormonal (glucagon and insulin) AP device, similar to El-Khatib's group in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.  However these guys are using a different computer algorithm to control the hardware.  The key achievements include an average BG of 138 and "nighttime hypoglycemia was reduced nearly to zero".  Testing was for a 24 hour period.  I think that 21 people were involved.  (The newspaper article says "21 experiments".)

Stem Cells
I recently came across a group of 8 stem cells experiments (mostly phase-I) which did not require long term immunosupressives.  So those could be part of a future cure.  For example, if Diamyd, DiaPep, or any of the anti-CD3 treatments currently in phase-III trials pan out in honeymoon diabetics, then these stem cells might extend that cure to people with established type-1 diabetes.  I will devote a future posting to these Stem Cells trials.  With the 3 stem cell trials that I already knew about, that's 11 total. 

Joshua Levy
All the views expressed here are those of Joshua Levy, and nothing here is official JDRF or JDCA news, views, policies or opinions.

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