Brown fat therapy reverses Type I diabetes in mouse trial

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I didn’t see any of my type-1 brethren hopping on to mock another cure for T1D mice, so I figure I’ll just come out and be the one to point out that mice have already been cured 30 or so different ways, and this is yet another transplant to do it. There are already islet cell transplants that have similar success rates and will require the same anti-rejection medications. And like the islet cell transplants, the cure isn’t worth the treatment (mouth blisters, immunocompromisation, headaches, nausea, diarrhea, phenomenal co-pays, etc). I’ll stick to the $1k+/month in insulin that it takes to keep me from dying of runaway starvation and dehydration even if this works in humans. But hurray, mice, you’re cured. Again. With worse side effects than most of the other treatment options available for you.


53% of the time, it works every time. If you are a mouse.

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My son was diagnosed 16 years ago, and all the medical professionals made it sound like they were on the verge of a cure, and my son would start adulthood cured. He’s an adult. Still waiting. I totally sympathize with you.

Off topic a bit: NPR ran a great story why that insulin costs $1k+/month in the US.


Don’t forget cerebral hemorrhage (from prolonged ketoacidosis and vomiting yourself to death, IIRC).

The increase in the cost of insulin is really phenomenal. Right now it costs about twenty times what it did when I was in college, but, like you said, it beats the alternative.

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Exactly how many of these mice would I have to eat?




Had not seen that before. Didn’t much care for ‘House’ when it was on. But this is good. Very good.

I really liked the show, but it was very repetitive and the gif basically sums it up.

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I wasn’t being entirely fair when I said $1k+ in insulin. Wal-Mart sells the generic reli-on human insulin for $25//vial OTC in many states. It’s good to know about if you’re ever desperate.

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Also, mice can hibernate and live on their fat. Most animals can turn their body fat into blood sugar, which is why they stay so slim and how they survive in hibernation… But man can not turn fat into glucose except for a minor salvage pathway, which is why people stay fat.

That’s not the whole story because even the newer types have seen dramatic price hikes. That 1970’s Humulin has gone from about $30 per vial (about 10 years ago) to around $100 even though the patents expired a long time ago.

It’s still readily available, but a decision was made somewhere that it just had to cost more.

The problem is getting bad enough that it’s even putting the squeeze on insurance companies, some of them are doubling or tripling the co-pay if you don’t opt for generics.

Jeez. Was all “Yay, a cure!” and then these bummer comments!

Quit harshing my need to feel vaguely good about a cure for a disease that I don’t suffer from being right around the corner even though I won’t notice when it doesn’t every amount to anything. I like those kind of articles.

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so i learned about brown fat today…with all my reading i hadn’t stumbled across that yet. thx.

That’s a fairly scary looking site. But the work they’re basing their, um, sales pitch on is a really nice scientific study. Roy Taylor hypothesised a mechanism that might cause type II diabetes, devised an experiment to reverse it, and then demonstrated the reversal in real live humans (not mice). Details here:

Basically, Newcastle put patients on a shock diet (600 calories/day for a fortnight) to reduce fat in the liver and restore normal insulin secretion. The results are exciting. For people who’ve had type II diabetes for less than four years, chances of reversal are pretty good. But of course, as they say on their website, talk to your doctor before trying this.

Sadly this offers nothing for those with type I, which is a completely different problem.

What’s that work out to per month?

The automatic-dosing insulin pump APSs are getting pretty good now, and they will begin to get out into the market in the next couple years. With some of the stable glucagon due on the market around the same time, the hypoglycemia might be a thing of the past and a lot of the drudgery of having to be so close to perfect all the time.

I’m most excited about glucose-responsive insulins that are beginning to work in lab/animal settings. I don’t know how close we are to a cure, but my day-to-day life is going to get a lot easier soon.

About $125, but the quality of life on human insulin vs. the genetically modified human analogues is very different. With the analogues, I would take 1 shot each morning to supply the background needs and 3 doses 15 minutes before eating to provide the insulin needed for a meal, and it would keep me from having dangerous insulin peaks away from meals. Using human insulin, there is no good background basal insulin, so I would have to take at least 2 intermediate acting doses, each of which will cause blood glucose to dip sometime 8-12h out, which can be very dangerous if it happens when you aren’t expecting it or in the middle of the night/while driving. And the meal-time insulins don’t work as quickly or leave your system as quickly as the analogues either, so you need to take the dose 30 minutes to an hour before eating, then hope to whatever gods you believe in that the kitchen doesn’t catch on fire or the waiter doesn’t lose your order etc before you get fed. Then your blood glucose runs high after the meal and your blood glucose drops low 4-5h after you eat because it is still hanging out in your blood. 2-3h after the food has stopped affecting you.

And that’s why I opt for the expensive route. And insulin isn’t even my only expense. I need test strips to have any idea what my blood glucose is doing. I use a relatively expensive meter at about $2/test, of which I do 4-10 in a day because the $.50 test strips are too inaccurate for me to use (this is different for type-2s not on insulin), and I use a $90/wk continuous glucose monitor because life is easier if I know what the trend is. I also use an insulin pump, which is about $7/day to operate plus $7k to purchase. Then there are syringes, sharps containers, blood-stained sheets and shirts, glucose tablets, multiple specialists with annual/6-month scheduled visits to tell me I’m still not (yet) going blind or losing my kidneys, and all of the little random expenses that add up, but I’ve never tallied it.

edit I do have insurance, but they hate me because they don’t make any money off me.

Sounds like Dr. Walter Kempner’s Rice Diet, which was developed at Duke in the 1940s to control obesity through strict calorie restriction and exercise. Patients stayed at the clinic for several months. The clinic is now closed, and it seems like gastric bypass surgery has become the substitute.

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