Patients tell of diabetes cure
- 0Jun 30, '04 by nursebedlamWednesday, June 30, 2004.
Patients tell of diabetes cure
By medical reporter Sophie Scott
The first Australian patients to be cured from type one diabetes have spoken about their treatment.
Doctors from Sydney's Westmead Hospital transplanted cells from a donated pancreas into the patients and they are now producing their own insulin.
Barbara Dunn and Julie Mudd are among the first Australian patients to undergo the ground-breaking transplant.
After being diabetic for 37 years, Ms Dunne is now free of daily injections.
"I don't have insulin anymore so I'm just like you, a normal person," Ms Dunn said.
Ms Mudd had the transplant two weeks ago and hopes to be needle-free within days.
"I can walk to the shops, I can vacuum the floor, I can chase my little 18-month-old around the house and pick her up and enjoy her which was a real struggle before," Ms Mudd said.
Doctors working in a state-of-art-cell research lab at the Westmead Hospital carried out the radical procedure.
Philip O'Connell, head of the Cellular Therapies Lab, says his team extracted insulin-producing cells called islets from a donated pancreas.
The cells were then injected into the liver of the diabetic patient and have started producing insulin.
"This is a very big breakthrough," Professor O'Connell said. "Using a cell-based therapy to treat a chronic disease is very, very new and its the way of the future."
So far, the procedure has been carried out on six patients who have severe unstable diabetes.
They will need to take low doses of anti-rejection drugs for the rest of their lives.
"I don't look at my daughter and wonder whether I'm going to see her start school," Ms Mudd said. "I know now that I'm going to be there to watch her grow up."
The techniques being developed in the lab are also being used to help cure cancers such as leukaemia.
Ellie Taylor Corney was diagnosed with leukaemia as a baby.
When she had a bone marrow transplant, new technology meant doctors could screen the tissue to kill off any viruses which may have harmed her.
She has now fully recovered.
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- 0Jul 5, '04 by nursebedlamQuote from babyrn_06new lab offers cell-based cures
wednesday, june 30, 2004
by sheryl taylor
a new world-class laboratory, sydney cellular therapies laboratory, has cured a handful of people with type 1 diabetes. the breakthrough was made possible by special technology to process human cells and is set to develop other cures for cancers and other conditions affecting thousands of australians.
barbara dunn and julie mudd are two of the first six australians to receive life-saving cell transplants from this laboratory for their type 1diabetes after their bodies had stopped making insulin which regulates glucose in the body. but it became a sudden, almost deadly, event when it happened to julie while she was employed an aid worker nine years ago.
"over a couple of weeks i became desperately ill and was told i only had 24 hours to live," she said.
a mercy dash to intensive care back in australia saved her but like barbara has been dependent on daily insulin. now, after two procedures to transplant replacement insulin-making cells, barbara is cured. following barbara's success, julie expects the same result in a week. then they'll both need anti-rejection drugs which they both claim is a small trade-off compared to lifelong risks of diabetic complications.
"i don't look at my daughter any more wondering if i'm going to see her start school," said julie. "i can look at her now and think i'm going to be there to watch her grow up."
the $600,000 sydney cellular therapies laboratory is the state's first specialist lab for processing blood and bone marrow stem cells, and pancreatic islet cells. it transforms 10 years of research into new, cell-based treatments for patients with cancer, blood diseases and diabetes.
"this is a very big breakthrough. using a cell-based therapy to treat a chronic disease is very new and it's the way of the future," said professor phillip o'connell, sydney cell therapies lab. moving forward, the lab at westmead hospital will expand on the diabetes treatment previously considered experimental and only available in europe and the us.
professor ken bradstock, head of bone marrow transplant (bmt) at westmead hospital, said the new lab was "a step into the future" and means patients suffering from blood cancers, such as leukaemia, can now be offered new developmental treatments.