Saturday, 15 June 2013

Diabetes Week 2013: Research, Research, Research!

Image from the DUK website.
Today marks the end of Diabetes Week 2013, and I've spent a long time thinking about what I want to write in this post. There are numerous blog posts that were published this week in honour of Diabetes Week, many of which can be found on the Diabetes UK Blog Site. Now, I've made no secret of the fact that I'm not very science-minded when it comes to diabetes. I can talk about living with it, but not a lot else. So, this week, I took the time to properly read up on what research is being done in the field of diabetes, and read many of the blog posts that were published in honour of Diabetes Week.

I knew that research was essential in the field of diabetes - of course it is! The discovery of insulin (thank you Banting and Best!), the advances made in blood glucose testing (which went from boiling urine, adding a mix of chemicals and then comparing it to a colour chart to urine strips to, finally, what we use today) and the way in which we now take our insulin (multiple daily injections (MDI) and insulin pumps). We now also have access to continuous glucose monitors (CGMs).

But the following blog post really put things into perspective. Written by someone who has lived with type one diabetes for, pretty much, their entire life, it emphasised just how important research is for those of us living with diabetes. Being only three years into life with diabetes, I didn't think I'd seen that much in terms of research. However, after doing some digging myself, I've realised just how wrong I am. 

There's the Bionic Pancreas, which is, hopefully, the future for insulin pumps. Anna from Glu got to trial one a few months back and she's documented her experience here. It's pretty amazing, not gonna lie! Or how about the announcement of the BioHub by the Diabetes Research Institute? A potential biological cure (although, my not-so-science-minded-brain doesn't really understand how it's meant to work - if anyone wishes to explain it, it would be greatly appreciated!) 

I don't know when, or even if, there will ever be a cure for diabetes. I'd love for there to be something to prevent it. Something that, should I, or anyone for that matter, decide to have children, there's something out there that stops the body's immune system from declaring war on the insulin-producing beta cells (I'm practically a scientist now ;-) ) Who knows?

What I do know is that it's research that will get us to that stage, and hopefully, one day, bring us the cure that allows us to say "I had diabetes".   

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