What’s Up With the JDRF and Denise Faustman?
This past April 12, 2005, would have come and gone like any other day had I not seen a headline in my local paper that caught my eye:
“Polio Vaccine’s Golden Anniversary” (San Francisco Chronicle, April 11, 2005).
Yes, April 12, 2005, marked the 50th anniversary of Jonas Salk’s development of the vaccine that cured infantile paralysis, or as we better know it, polio.
As a type 1 for 30 years, it got me thinking: Was polio really the last disease that was actually cured? No disrespect to Dr. Salk—a genius and hero by all accounts—but I would think that the scientists, technology, resources and brain power we have today are much better at developing cures than they were 50 years ago.
But polio is still the last disease that was cured.
So I ask you: What is so hard about finding a cure for type 1 diabetes, or cancer or even the common cold? Could it be, as our October 2003 cover story pointed out, that curing a profitable disease is not a good business decision? That too many companies would stand to lose too much if there were a cure for diabetes, or cancer or the common cold?
Why Did the JDRF Circulate a Letter Critical of Denise Faustman’s Work?
That question leads into our article this month on Denise Faustman’s regenerative research.
As you know, we covered Denise Faustman’s research in the March 2004 issue of Diabetes Health (“The Latest Cure: Injected Spleen Cells Reverse Type 1 in Mice,”). This was a full eight months before The New York Times finally got around to covering it in a November 2004 article. When The Times did, however, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) sent a letter to The Times criticizing Faustman’s work, which The Times did not publish. Afterward, the JDRF circulated the unpublished letter to its chapters in an e-mail, which made its way into the hands of several of our readers.
As previously reported in this magazine, Dr. Faustman has petitioned the JDRF in the past to fund her research, only to be turned down. I am a member of the JDRF and enjoy receiving their quarterly magazine. I realize that it is certainly not our place to question how the JDRF spends its research money, but our readers started asking, Why would the JDRF circulate a letter critical of Dr. Faustman’s work?
We had to investigate.
Read Martin Jensen’s article (“Why Did the JDRF Try to Discredit Cure Research?”) and let us know what you think in the coming months.
As a type 1, I couldn’t be more excited about the FDA’s decision to approve Symlin (pramlintide acetate) injections to be used in conjunction with insulin to treat diabetes.
I’ve been hearing nothing but positive things about this synthetic analog for years now and am excited that type 1s and insulin-using type 2s now have another treatment option. See our article (“FDA Approves Symlin”) to learn more about it.
Type 1, 30 years (and counting)
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