Diabetes Research Institute's BioHub: The End-All-Be-All for Diabetes?

Ann Bartlett Health Guide
  • Yesterday, buzz stirred within the diabetes online community that there was a surprise coming from the Diabetes Research Institute.  To add to the curiosity, Tom Karlya wrote a blog titled “This Could Be It…. What We Have Been Waiting for Since Diagnosis?." With that, I then surfed over to Diabetes Research Institute’s site, and it was down and said come back tomorrow.  As someone who lives with diabetes, this completely caught my attention, and I love great intrigue!

     

    I spent the rest of the day sifting through all the pieces of research that I knew about, and thought of all the pitfalls that have killed some of my favorite research, and I began to worry that I was being led down a rabbit hole.

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    This morning at 6:30 am, I jumped online to see what the news was, and I found this on the DRI site:

     

     

    This is a really fascinating idea that I could support. It appears that researchers are moving toward the idea of "encased biotechnology." SmartInsulin was one of the first to put forth the idea of a biodegradable polymer, and now many more are coming forward with similar formats.  To me, this seem like the logical next step for diabetes research.

     

    DRI’s BioHub will be able to work for people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, which gets a big high-five from me, and it will work for established type 1 patients as well, which means you could be treated no matter how long you have lived with diabetes (so this would apply to me... double thumbs up!).

     

    What I lack clarity on is the comment made by Dr. Camillo Ricordi, DRI's Scientific Director and Chief Academic Officer, on Riva Greenberg’s blog: "It will mimic the insulin function of a normal pancreas," and "It will restore natural insulin production for any patient, no matter how long they've had diabetes." In my mind, those are two separate tasks; so, how does the BioHub master both?

     

    Also, from Greenberg’s blog: “The BioHub, if successful, promises to overcome the three obstacles that islet cell transplantation has not -- a steady supply of cells that can be harvested from multiple sources, an environment where the cells will reside that is biologically supported, and no need for anti-rejection drugs.”

     

    That made me ask another question: how does it get around the need for anti-rejection drugs?

     

    The BioHub certainly appears to be the be-all-end-all of diabetes, but still have a ton of questions, like the safety of a silicone scaffold.  Didn’t we have a problem with silicone in the body? On the other hand, dietary silicone can be very beneficial to bone health. Again, I need some clarity to understand the dream of DRI.  

     

    I’m excited to see how this will take shape over the next few years, but I could do with less campaigning that this is "the" best thing to happen to diabetes. I’ve lived with diabetes for 43 years and still maintain hope for science to improve my circumstance, but we never should put all of our eggs in one basket until it is in the marketplace. Thank you, Kim, from TextingMyPancreas for adding your voice to this issue!  

Published On: March 05, 2013