Tuesday, January 8, 2008
What Door Would You Open?
I'm paraphrasing from the above link.
Transplanted islet cells from a deceased persons pancreas has made the person who had those cells injected into her liver free of insulin injections for the past two years. I think it's great progress, but I worry about the fact that the recipient has to take anti rejection drugs for the rest of her life.
Those drugs do a major number on the kidneys, and costs run the patient about $10,000 a year. Also these drugs cause high blood pressure and mouth sores.
Dr's are working with a seaweed extract called Alginate that would protect the cells from an immune system attack, but would allow insulin, oxygen and nutrients to come and go as they please.
Another problem is The supply of donor pancreases. In 2006 there was only enough donated organs for 1% of type 1 diabetics. Scientists are trying to replicate islets in the lab.
Obviously, they need work out a few things.
I'm really not sure what door I'd choose.
Door #1. I'd no longer have diabetes, but be on rejection drugs and have a suppressed immune system and the other side effects associated with those drugs for the rest of my life.
Door #2. I'd continue to be a diabetic who must take insulin, count carbs, and exercise to maintain his or her health. But, whose immune system is not compromised.
I'm going with Door #3. I'll wait a few years until they figure out some of the kinks and then choose between Door #1 and Door #2.
What door would you open?