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New Treatment for Diabetes Shows Promise

New Treatment for Diabetes Shows Promise

Posted - Feb. 23, 2004 at 5:08 p.m.



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Ed Yeates ReportingWhile it's not a cure, high concentrations of insulin that go directly to the liver may reverse some of the symptoms of diabetes. Some patients with serious complications from the disease are reporting dramatic results.

Penny Ann Reay has serious complications from diabetes. She's partially blind, has severe pain in her feet, and is experiencing some renal failure.

Penny Ann Reay: "All the functions of my body, diabetes is taking from me."

But along with others like her, Penny now goes to a clinic in Draper once a week to get high concentration doses of insulin through a special IV pump, approved by the FDA about four months ago. The insulin goes directly to the liver.

The outcome so far?

Penny Ann Reay, Diabetes Patient: "I have come from almost not being able to walk, to almost crawling, to actually dancing. I mean I'm getting out and around. I'm able to go to the grocery store. I haven't been able to do that for two years."

In theory, the concentrated insulin seems to stimulate the liver to metabolize glucose more normally. It's high enough that patients have to drink glucola - a high sugar drink - to make sure they don't bottom out during the six hour treatment. But overall, it seems to give them better control - something they haven't had before.

Dr. Donald Allred, South Valley Impulse Center: "During that time, we've seen some symptomatic relief of neuropathy symptoms. Patients have better feeling in their feet for instance, better temperature sensation, less pain."

After eleven treatments so far, Penny has cut her normal daily injections of insulin in half.

Right now this is the only impulse center in Utah, but it's expected others will open possibly within months.

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