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Juvenile onset diabetes can be cured if caught in time

Ryan Reed, driver of the #16 ADA Drive to Stop Diabetes presented by Lilly Diabetes Ford, during qualifying for the NASCAR Nationwide Series History 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 24, 2014, in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Ryan Reed, driver of the #16 ADA Drive to Stop Diabetes presented by Lilly Diabetes Ford, during qualifying for the NASCAR Nationwide Series History 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 24, 2014, in Charlotte, North Carolina.Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images

Juvenile diabetes, now known as type 1 diabetes, has been shown to be reversible and effectively cured for life in mouse studies. The disease has been found in 22 million people across the world and has been shown to be increasing at a rate of three percent per year since 2006. Dr. William Ridgway and colleagues from the University of Cincinnati have discovered a method to prevent the normal course of type 1 diabetes if it is caught in time. The researchers presented their findings at the June 14, 2014, session of the American Diabetes Association's Scientific Sessions in San Francisco.

The researchers used an agonistic monoclonal antibody to boost the activity of a toll-like receptor cell called TLR4. The treatment reversed the further development of diabetes in mice that were not overweight or obese. The process preserves the insulin producing beta cells of the pancreas before diabetes can destroy the beta cells.

The present limitation of the process is time. Diabetes must be caught in the early stages of development. The time frame for mice is relatively short but the anticipated time frame involved in human treatment is considerably longer. The researchers anticipate future testing in humans because the mouse trials were so successful and one form of TLR4- agonistic is already approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration.

The American Diabetes Association states that the treatment of diabetes costs $245 billion per year according to the latest available analysis from 2013. Twelve percent of all the costs for treating diabetes involve testing supplies like glucose meters. The diabetes testing business makes $29 billion per year. One has to wonder if a cure for diabetes may not be shelved for an indefinite amount of time due to the lobbying of the FDA by diabetes treatment companies that want to maintain a huge income stream.