150 093 Lecture 6

150 093 Lecture 6 - Commentary on Lecture 6 Sept. 10, 2009...

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Commentary on Lecture 6 Sept. 10, 2009 During Tuesday’s lecture I neglected to talk about a promising treatment for Type 1 diabetes. It’s called the Edmonton Protocol because it’s a procedure (protocol) devised by researchers in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Type 1 diabetics can’t control blood glucose concentration properly because they make little or no insulin at all. The present time-tested method of monitoring your own blood glucose concentration and then injecting into a muscle a proper amount of insulin while effective, is cumbersome and has some definite social drawbacks. A variety of implanted glucose sensors and insulin pumps have been tried and found ineffective because both sensor and needle are too easily clogged and become dysfunctional quickly. The Canadian researchers tried a radically new way to address the problem of delivering insulin to the patient automatically just like the pancreas but doesn’t require any electronic sensors and pumps. They had experimented on rats (who make and use insulin the way we do) and after preventing them from using their own insulin supplied them with live pancreatic beta cells (aka islet cells) from the pancreas of another rat. They discovered that the experimental animals survived and maintained a normal blood glucose level. They also determined that the donor beta cells had lodged in the liver of the experimental animal. After more animal testing (a lot more) they were given permission to try this on patients with Type 1 diabetes, whose approval they got also, to see if it worked in humans as well…using human insulin producing beta cells of course. The tests were successful and most of the early recipients of the beta cells have not had to use injected insulin since that time and are living a normal life. One of the significant drawbacks is that to get enough beta cells to transfuse into a recipient rquires2 donor pancreases obtainable only from
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150 093 Lecture 6 - Commentary on Lecture 6 Sept. 10, 2009...

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