How can I get rid of diabetes permanently? Can diabetes be cured completely

Can my diabetes be cured? 

Things are looking up. Scientists are working on a number of promising possibilities.

A mechanical pancreas. 

What they're aiming for is one about three inches in diameter, approximately the size of a heart pacemaker, that can be implanted. That's a pretty small package to contain all the good things they need to put in it: a glucose sensor to report the blood sugar level, a laboratory to analyze the findings, a computer to calculate how much insulin is needed, a reservoir of insulin that can be released in the proper quantity into the bloodstream, a pump, a fail-safe device to counteract the release of too much insulin, and a power supply for the whole operation.

By way of a progress report, we can tell you that Dr. J. Michael Soeldner of the Joslin Research Laboratory is perfecting an implantable sensor that reads blood sugar levels and sends a signal to a transmitter to activate an insulin pump. At present the sensor has been reduced to the size of a nickel.

Beta cell transplants. 

The beta cells are the part of the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas that produce insulin. During the first experiments with animals, these cells were implanted in different parts of their bodies with only short-term success. Lately, researchers under Dr. Michael Lacey in St. Louis have had longer-lived success by injecting rat cells into the large vein that leads into the liver in diabetic mice. The insulin- producing cells are first cultured for seven days below body temperature to prevent the immune reaction from being triggered.


Juvenile Diabetes, like polio, may someday be virtually eliminated with immunization shots that prevent the virus from attacking the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas.

Genetic change. 

This is science fiction stuff, but it may be the ultimate solution to diabetes along with every other human genetic flaw. It is a theory that some day when all the mysteries of genetic structure are solved, some sort of genetic surgery to correct genetic defects will be found.

Pancreas transplants. 

There are with these, as with heart transplants, the two problems of getting the necessary organ and keeping the body from rejecting it after it's transplanted. Even so, over 100 transplants have been made in the United States and some have not been rejected. One young South Carolinian, thirty-five-year -old Mary Ellen Baran, has had a double transplant: pancreas and kidney. She had been diabetic for twenty-three years when in 1972 she had a successful kidney transplant and then in 1978 a successful pancreas transplant at the University of Minnesota hospital. She is now cured of diabetes.

We had breakfast with Mary Ellen in Atlanta and watched in amazement as she relished her pancakes and syrup. She confessed that "within three months of leaving the hospital, I had tasted every dessert known to man and gained fifteen pounds." She now has a grip on her new freedom and her weight is back to normal. "My meal plans are exactly as they were before the operation," she told us. And believe it or not, she says she eats less refined sugar now than she did as a diabetic!

Keep watching the papers. You'll be seeing a lot of headlines like "Diabetes Cure in Sight." Unfortunately, when you read on, you'll probably discover that the "fantastic" breakthrough has been with three mice in New Jersey.

In time, however, we're confident the real cure will come. What you have to do in the meantime is keep your spirits up, keep your diabetes in control, and keep yourself in the best possible shape so that you'll be able to, as Mary Ellen puts it, "hop onto your own star when it comes your way."


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