JDRF Walk To Cure Diabetes

There are 1,100 parking spaces at Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield in North Haven. They were all full for today’s “Walk To Cure Diabetes.” A back of the envelope estimate says 3-4,000 people showed up!

That’s pretty good, considering the weather was awful. There were showers before, during and after the event. From time-to-time there were even downpours.

I love going to this event because I get to meet the people I’m trying to help.

Though there was a research setback reported last week, I still think juvenile diabetes can be eliminated, as polio and smallpox have been eliminated.

Here’s the article. Read past the headline, the bad news is in the last two paragraphs. The good news that led the article had been out for a while.

I am the celebrity chairman of this walk. I don’t know exactly what that means, except I give away my bosses airtime promoting the event, say hello to a lot of people during the event and shake a lot of hands.

The photo attached to this entry is a typical shot and I took a few dozen today. I don’t know the name of the totally soaked guy I’m with, but I was pointing to his tattoo in a bit of good natured fun and he was pleased I was.

This year’s walk was special in another way. Helaine came with me. As much as I enjoy the spotlight, Helaine avoids it.

I am very lucky to be able to help JDRF in a quantifiable way. No one at work tells me or even asks me to do this. I just know it’s right, and it makes me feel good. It couldn’t be any simpler.

Waking up early (for me) on a Sunday morning to stand out in the rain has never been more rewarding.

September 28, 2006 7:38 p.m. EST

Shaveta Bansal – All Headline News Staff Writer

New York, NY (AHN) – Researchers studying the feasibility and reproducibility of transplantation of insulin-producing pancreatic cells, called islets, in type 1 Diabetes patients with too high or too low blood sugar levels, are looking forward to use the procedure in treating the autoimmune disorder. In type 1 diabetes, the body’s own immune system attacks the islet cells destroying them or damaging them sufficiently to reduce or eliminate insulin production.

The first successful islet transplantations were performed on seven patients in 2000 by a team led by Dr. A. M. James Shapiro from the University of Alberta in Canada.

To evaluate the effectiveness of the procedure Shapiro and his associates conducted a subsequent trial on 36 adult subjects who had type 1 diabetes for at least 5 years, along with glucose levels that swung widely from too high to too low.

Between 2001 and 2003, the patients received up to three perfusions of islet cells, so long as islet function persisted after the preceding transplantation. The islets were isolated from the pancreas of brain-dead donors.

Researchers found that after one year of transplants, 16 patients achieved independence from insulin injections with adequate glucose control. 10 subjects had partial graft function, with substantially improved diabetes control and the rest 10 patients had complete graft loss.

However, the transplanted islet cells gradually lost their ability to produce insulin, with only five participants’ insulin independent after two years, and only one after three years.

In an accompanying editorial, Dr. Jonathan S. Bromberg and Dr. Derek LeRoith, both from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, comment that much work remains to be done before islet transplantation produces durable results.

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