Friday, January 24, 2014

Hanging out after the Hangout - how a talk about a new treatment for type 1 diabetes sparked a deeper conversation



You know you have hit on an important topic when the conversation continues long after you expected it to end. That’s certainly what happened with yesterday’s Google Hangout on Diabetes that we hosted. While the Hangout itself was, I thought, engaging and informative, it clearly only began to touch on the full scope of the issue.

After the Hangout ended I thanked the four experts who made up our panel – Drs. Kevin D’Amour and Howard Foyt from ViaCyte, Dr. Francisco Prieto a physician and researcher and the Patient Advocate for Diabetes for our governing Board, and Chris Stiehl, who has been living with type 1 diabetes for 54 years – and that began a conversation about all the different aspects of the disease that we simply didn’t have time to touch on during the Hangout.

While the Hangout focused on treatments and therapies for the physical side of diabetes, part of the post-Hangout conversation focused on other aspects. Chris pointed out:

 “I believe one of the major issues in diabetes is the psychological aspect of the disease, public ignorance and discrimination, etc. I know that CIRM does not fund that kind of research, but diabetes depression is a key component of who survives and who doesn't” 

Francisco responded to that by broadening the conversation even wider:

 “I agree Chris that the psychological aspects are tremendous - I have to deal with that every day. The genetics are also very interesting, and not just for type 1. Being Latino and with a heavily Latino patient population, I see this daily as well, and also the tremendous degree of heterogeneity there is between different people with the "same" disease - type 2 diabetes. Some appear to be much more insulin resistant than others, and while our tools are better, our ability to measure and understand those differences and the implications for their treatment are still quite primitive. The fact that science gives us a way to figure these things out and use that to make people's lives better is why I love it.” 
What this says is that we touched on a disease that touches so many people in so many different ways, not just the individual with diabetes but also their family and friends.

But this all began with the Hangout and a look at the latest research, including Kevin and Howard’s discussion of their new device that could prove a powerful tool for people with type 1 diabetes. This project has funded in part by grants totaling over $30 million from CIRM.

If you missed the conversation the first time around you can catch it all by watching it on our web site. There’s a wealth of information there and it’s started a conversation that we are going to keep following in the months and years to come.

To learn more about CIRM-funded research related to diabetes, visit our fact sheet.

kevin mccormack

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