I wish my son had NOD diabetes instead of type 1. NOD (non obese rodent diabetes) is the kind of diabetes similar to type 1 that scientists develop in mice and rats for research purposes. Why would I want Josh to have mice diabetes? Well, because this diabetes has been cured --- yet again.
I'm kidding of course; I wouldn't want my son to have mice diabetes, but I'm envious of the number of cures found in the lab. I’ve lost count of how many times mice have been cured. See. Dr. Bill Quick’s Rat Research and media hype (12/5/06) and Mice Cured of Diabetes (12/22/06) posts for a more thorough discussion of mice cures and an explanation of NOD diabetes. I also wrote about those lucky mice before in Scientists cure diabetes in Mice?!! (12/22/06).
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation has a link to the latest breakthrough on their main website www.jdrf.org because JDRF money helped fund the research. This recent mice cure also scampered out of the scientific journals (The Proceedings of the National Academy of Science) into the national media spotlight.
The latest news comes out of the University of California at San Francisco and involves the prevention and reversal of autoimmunity related to an enzyme that maliciously alters a cell’s signaling protein. The leukemia drugs, Gleevec and Sutent blocked this enzyme resulting in restarted insulin production in 80% of the mice tested. The drug was given only for a few weeks to achieve the apparent reversal in autoimmunity. This recent NOD cure breakthrough does offer a very exciting opportunity because the test drugs are already FDA approved and on the market to treat leukemia.
The outcome is exciting and the fact that these drugs are already deemed safe by the FDA will speed the research. Researchers will be able to plow through safety trials, taking years off the drug trial period. Research can be accelerated to deal with efficacy and answer the question, will these FDA approved drugs work on human type 1 diabetes?
I’m not completely cynical about rodent research. It may ultimately result in a cure for human diabetes, but it’s the outcome of the human research I anxiously await.