People with diabetes can't make or use insulin which controls their blood sugar levels, so they prick their fingers to check those levels and inject themselves with insulin several times a day. Researchers say they've actually cured diabetes in lab animals with an experimental treatment that has received FDA approval for testing on humans.
25 year-old Hector Gonzalez is the first person in Texas to join the study in San Antonio. Ideally, the treatment will stimulate the re-growth of enough islet, or insulin producing cells, that patients will only need the protein injection once every month or two.
"I am very hopeful that I will no longer need to wear this insulin pump, or monitor my glucose values, so many times out of the day," said Hector, a diabetes study patient.
"What these proteins do is they stimulate the growth of the cells,around the islets that are dying, and make them into islets. They differentiate them into islets," said Eugenio Cersosimo, M.D., Ph.D, of Texas Diabetes Institute.
So far Hector's had no side effects from the protein injection. He gets his injections at the Texas Diabetes Institute, which is part of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. In addition to the Texas program, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Medstar Research Institute in Washington are also testing the injection.
The program is called Ingap, which stands for Islet Neogenesis associated protein peptide. For more information, you can call 954-745-3510 or (click here).