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From Mesa, Arizona, USA:

My son has recently been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Since this is an autoimmune disease, why can't any of the medications used for HIV or AIDS been used to protect the pancreas? I know I maybe reaching, but as a parent everything goes through your head.


The autoimmune problems can be treated with many drugs used for AIDS and cancer, but the side effects are significant and serious so that the risks are too high for the potential benefits. Getting cancer when the immune systems are shut down chemically is a bad trade for diabetes. If we could target just the immune system that is misfiring and attacking the beta cells, this would be ideal, but nobody yet has discovered a safe way to do this.

The transplant team in Edmonton, Alberta Canada (See Alberta Foundation Reports on Successful Islet Transplants) look like they have the best immune cocktail at present, but it is still too early to know what the real side effect incidence will be since we must wait at least five years to know this type of information with such small numbers now being treated. Preliminary results look superb, however.


Original posting 15 Nov 2001
Posted to Research: Causes and Prevention


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