Category Archives: New Technology

Research in action


Last December, our local JDRF chapter had a research forum with a guest speaker from the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation.  It was an awesome presentation by one of the researchers who works directly on JDRF funded projects at their lab in La Jolla, CA.

Information on JDRF funded beta cell therapies  http://www.jdrf.org/index.cfm?page_id=113244  Two New Partnerships in Regeneration Help Drive Towards a Cure Faster

Information on JDRF/GNF Collaboration  http://www.gnf.org/collaborations/jdrf/

At the end of his presentation he had mentioned that if any of us would like to come down to the lab for a visit, he would be happy to show us around.

Well….it took 6 months, but my husband and I finally were able to take our grandson (who has Type 1)  and his sister, our granddaughter (my baker) down to La Jolla for a tour of the lab last week!

What a fantastic experience it was to see, first hand, some of the great things JDRF funded research is doing to find a cure!

One of the main JDRF funded projects that GNF is working on is “beta cell regeneration and SURVIVAL”.  They have modified robots that were originally used in the automotive industry to assemble cars, to enable testing of thousands of compounds at a time on donated pancreas cells.  Basically the robots take a modified petri dish approximately 4″ x 5″ that has 1400 wells in it…that’s right 1400 wells in a 4″ x 5″ rectangular plate..  The robots then dispenses beta cells into each well, and then adds a  different compound or combination of compounds into each one of those wells.  After each step, the robot weighs the dish and then places it in an incubator to grow.  After the desired time…the robot takes the plate out and places it under a microscope and each of the 1400 wells is photographed and analyzed by the computer.  There is certain criteria that needs to be met…the computer then analyzes the information and any promising results are noted and mapped and will then each of those wells will be looked at by the researchers one at a time.

To see just a hint of what these robots look like and the plates that hold these precious cells..please follow this link

http://www.gnfsystems.com

then go to “video” and click on slides “00 thru 04”  to get a taste of our tour (slide 04 is showing one of the petri plates being filled with beta cells).

Of the 1400 cultures in each plate…less than 1% of them meet the requirements to even consider continuing to follow it’s results.   It is beyond looking for a needle in a haystack, and yet these dedicated researchers are beyond committed.  They work tirelessly day in and day out to find that one link that will lead us to a  cure!  They are never without their cell phone and pagers.  When they get a call that there is a donor pancreas on route they drop whatever they are doing and head for the lab.  It makes no difference what  time of the day or night it is…they know there is a very small window in which they can preserve the beta cells and they don’t waste one minute or one beta cell!

They have had some very exciting results and are very encouraged that, in the very near future, there will be some sort of therapy (whether it be a pill you take or some other treatment) that will help prevent the immune system from attacking the beta cells, and a bit farther down the road, there will be some form of drug treatment that will regenerate beta cells and those cells will be protected from destruction!!

This is just one of the many research institutes that JDRF is collaborating with.  I was able to see their enthusiasm and dedication and it gave me even more encouragement that a cure for diabetes will happen…Just not as soon as any of us would like!

 

 

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Filed under Beta Cell Therapy, New Technology

Breath Test for Diabetes

Blog post #2 

Dear Dr. Galassetti,

Back in 2008, my grandson participated in studies you were conducting at UCI Medical Center.  That research was being done in hopes of eliminating skin punctures for people with diabetes.

As you know, our loved ones, who have diabetes have to test their blood sugars 5 to 10 times a day by pricking their fingers.  You believed that you had the answer to making that process less painful.  This method of measuring blood sugar levels would be one more step in making life just a little easier for them while they wait for their cure.

You collected breath samples from young diabetic athletes while blood sugar levels were high and again as levels fell after insulin was administered. Using a technique developed to test air pollution, you and your researchers detected high concentrations of methyl nitrate — a byproduct of the damage to body tissue — when blood sugar levels are too high and as the blood sugar was corrected, the methyl nitrate levels in their breath went down.

Your technology would allow all people with diabetes to be able to test their blood sugar levels by breathing into a device rather than having to draw blood!  You were encouraged by your results.  But you also said it may take up to 10 years to bring this to market.  UGH!!

Please let us know where you are at in this exciting technology and also let us know if there is anything we can do to help bring it to market and made available for our loved ones!  Do we need to give the FDA another push?  We are getting pretty good at that!  Last month we (JDRF and DOC Advocates) banded together and successfully convinced congress to sign a letter to the FDA urging them to approve outpatient testing of the Artificial Pancreas as quickly as possible!  We’re hoping that out patient testing of the Artificial Pancreas will start this summer!

While certainly not a cure, your device would make the wait for a cure just a little easier and perhaps convince people to test more often.  Just think…   No more test strips!  No more Lancets!  No more calloused fingers!  No more punctures!

Thank you,

Type 1 Advocate Gramma

If you would like to see the short video telling about that research testing, which(by the way) features my grandson, along with bit parts from my grand daughter, son and daughter-in-law..please follow this link.

Breath Test For Diabetes

I’m sorry I can’t figure out how to bypass the advertisements…but it is only 15 seconds and then goes to the feature.

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Filed under Baseball, D-Blog Week, Grandchildren, New Technology, Sports