Hello all you Savvy Diabetics. My name is Priscilla Faubel, another long-time T1d. This is my first ever Blog. But if you spend any time with Joanne Milo you find yourself participating in a lot of firsts.
Joanne asked me to tell you a little about the SOIG (Strong On Insulin Group) meeting held July 13, 2017 at the Santa Monica (CA) Library and presented by Carolyn Robertson, APRN, MSM, CDE. Carolyn is the only non-diabetic person I have ever meet that knows more about Diabetes then any diabetic I know. She is just amazing.
She began with a short recap of the 77th American Diabetes Scientific Sessions (hybrid pumps and faster insulins). My big take away was that it takes time for technology to make it to the marketplace.
She also spoke about the closed loop system which does not have FDA approval. It is an open source closed loop system. This system designed by dedicated parents of T1D’s and T1D adults, hacks certain models of old Medtronic’s pumps that through their programming receive individual settings and algorithms and are connected by electronic bridges to connect a phone with the program, a Dexcom G4 of G5 and the pump. The advantage is you have really driven people all working together to design and improve on the technology of the closed loop system. (JLM: P is now happily up and running the RileyLink Do-It-Yourself closed loop system!)
The guest speaker for this meeting was Eugene Brandon from Viacycte. This part of the meeting was so chocked full of information I can only begin to share the highlights. Viacycte has been able to take one of two stem cells and make billions of them. They can take these stem cells and get them to differentiate themselves into pancreatic endoderm cells. They have encapsulated them so that they could not be attacked by the immune system however while those studies worked well in mice, the transplantation into humans proved more difficult in that the cells could not access enough oxygen within their encapsulation to survive. Viacycte has not given up on this, but it’s main thrust is to move to clinical studies with encapsulated pancreatic endoderm cells that have tiny holes in the capsule to allow more oxygen to flow. This however means that the immune system will be triggered so immune suppressants will be needed. The upside is that they are working on reducing the negative effects of anti-rejection treatments and the statistics show that the success of Islet cell transplants has gone up and the negative side effects have gone down.
I don’t expect islet cell transplants are going to be here for healthy diabetics who have no urgent need for a while. But it’s great to hear the progress being made.