Researchers discover technique that could lead to diabetes cure
SAN ANTONIO – Doctors in San Antonio have made a breakthrough discovery which could mean a potential cure for people with diabetes.
Tom Mathieu is a fanatical bike rider.
He believes he's pedaled more than 20,000 miles since he began riding in his early thirties.
He started riding because of a condition he was diagnosed with as a teenager.
“Doctors told me it'd be a miracle that you see 60," said Mathieu.
Mathieu is a type 1 diabetic and his doctors tell him his body produces zero insulin.
He and his doctors believe his bike riding has helped keep his diabetes in check.
“Well I'm 73 and I've had [diabetes] since I was 14," said Mathieu.
Researchers at UT Health San Antonio have discovered a strategy that could mean a cure.
“It's a game changer,” said Dr. Bruno Doiron. “It change drastically the life of a patient that's diabetic."
Using a technique called gene transfer, doctors can alter other cells so they start to secrete insulin but only in response to sugar.
"I’m using already what's naturally in your body," said Dr. Doiron.
The University Health System says diabetes is the 4th leading cause of death in Bexar County.
Mathieu calls the potential therapy revolutionary.
He says diabetes is a condition that requires discipline, but says this discovery would give a lot of freedom back to people dealing with diabetes.
“People won't be burdened by what diabetes causes and then the cost of those causes,” said Mathieu. “I think it's miraculous."
Doctors say the therapy has cured diabetes in mice for one year without any side effects, which has never been done.
The goal is to conduct large-animal studies and human clinical trials in the next three to five years.