A few months ago my mom was in town for a JDRF meeting and we were sitting having drinks at the hotel bar with Steve and some other parents whose children have diabetes. We got on to the topic of what a cure meant to me.
I sat there for a few minutes pondering my answer. Ultimately a cure to me means I don't have diabetes anymore. No more testing, no more shots, no more pumps, no more sensor, no more carbohydrate counting, no more carrying around fast acting glucose, no more worrying if I'm going to go low/high during a meeting, no more worrying if I am going to go low driving, no more worrying about spending an arm and a leg (with insurance!) on all the diabetes supplies I need, no more thinking 24/7/365 about diabetes like I have for nearly 22 years. My body would work like Steve's or my mom's. Poof! Diabetes is gone!
That is my ideal world. While I won't hold my breathe that it will happen anytime soon but the research that is going on out there is pretty incredible. The advances in research in the last 20+
years is remarkable. There is a much better understanding of how diabetes works and how it affects the body.
For other people they want to concentrate on technology. JDRF's Artificial Pancreas Project is working to "close the loop" and build a "bionic pancreas." I love the concept, don't get me wrong, but I do worry about relying 100% on technology. I am super excited to see what comes out of this but I'm on the fence as to whether or not this could be considered a cure. I think in this area I would have to wait and see the final product.
Earlier this month came reports that scientists in Australia developed a vaccine that works against type 1 diabetes in mouse experiments. The scientists were able to stop mice who were going to develop type 1 from ever developing diabetes. While this vaccine is still a long way from being available to the public. This study does show how a section of diabetes research is being done to learn how to stop diabetes. Now, I would do anything for nobody else to ever be diagnosed with this disease but at the same time I don't call that a cure. I know that would be a cure to the parents of a child who have just been told that they prevented the child from getting diabetes because of a vaccine.
I think a cure will come from all of this. We need prevent more people from being diagnosed but we also need to make the lives of those already living with diabetes easier, at least until diabetes is 100% gone.
What is a cure for you? Do you think research should be focused on one area more than any other? When do you realistically think a cure will be real?