Hope for people with type 1 diabetes.

photo courtesy of New York Times.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals is a global biotechnology company that invests in scientific innovation to create transformative medicines for people with serious and life-threatening diseases.  Vertex has more than a dozen ongoing research programs focused on the underlying mechanisms of other serious diseases. It is known for developing medicines that treat the underlying causes of cystic fibrosis (CF), a rare genetic condition that harms a patient’s internal organs. Vertex Pharmaceuticals has also developed a stem cell-derived therapy for the treatment of type 1 diabetes.

Brian Shelton may be the first person cured of Type 1 diabetes.Early this year his ex wife, Cindy Shelton, spotted a call for people with Type 1 diabetes to participate in a clinical trial by Vertex Pharmaceuticals. The company was testing a treatment developed over decades by a scientist who vowed to find a cure after his baby son and then his teenage daughter got the devastating disease.

Mr. Shelton was the first patient. On June 29, he got an infusion of cells, grown from stem cells but just like the insulin-producing pancreas cells his body lacked.Now his body automatically controls its insulin and blood sugar levels.

Dr Butler said. It is a remarkable result to be able to reverse diabetes by giving them back the cells they are missing is comparable to the miracle when insulin was first available 100 years ago.

Mr. Shelton’s said his new drugs, which suppress his immune system, are far less onerous than the constant blood sugar monitoring and insulin intake. It’s a whole new life,” Mr. Shelton said. “It’s like a miracle.”

Brian Shelton’s life was ruled by Type 1 diabetes. When his blood sugar plummeted, he would lose consciousness without warning. He crashed his motorcycle into a wall. He passed out in a customer’s yard while delivering mail. Following that episode, his supervisor told him to retire, after a quarter century in the Postal Service. He was 57.

A new treatment using stem cells that produce insulin has surprised experts and given them hope for the 1.5 million Americans living with the disease.

with a new treatment that has experts daring to hope that help may be coming for many of the 1.5 million Americans suffering from Type 1 diabetes. a diabetes expert at the University of Washington who was not involved in the research wants to see the result, not yet published in a peer-reviewed journal, replicated in many more people. He also wants to know if there will be unanticipated adverse effects and if the cells will last for a lifetime or if the treatment would have to be repeated. The only cure that has ever worked is a pancreas transplant or a transplant of the insulin-producing cell clusters of the pancreas, known as islet cells, from an organ donor’s pancreas. But a shortage of organs makes such an approach an impossibility for the vast majority with the disease. Dr. John Buse, a diabetes expert at the University of North Carolina who has no connection to Vertex, said there should be a careful evaluation and monitoring of potential complications from the medication.

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