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Benfotiamine Pharmaceutical Therapy May be Alternative to Islets Transplants

August 17th, 2009

You are probably aware of the increasing interest in benfotiamine as an oral medication to prevent the metabolism of excess glucose in diabetics to the advanced glycation end products which are the ultimate cause of diabetic complications. This drug has a half-century record of use as an extremely safe over-the-counter remedy for alcoholic neuritis. Although data began emerging in the mid-1990s showing its capacity to block the formation of diabetic complications from excess blood sugar, it was only with M. Brownlee’s publication of its effectiveness in Nature: Medicine in February, 2003, that interest in benfotiamine really took off.

The Marat/King Dialogues
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Life Expectancy of Encapsulated Islets

August 17th, 2009

I wonder if any differentially permeable membrane screen against immunological attack can work in principle. Since these devices rely on diffusion of nutrients across the membrane while nature uses vascularization to achieve cell nutrition, I suspect that encapsulated beta cells will always have a life expectancy so short that they will simply not be cost-effective, especially if they cannot provide sufficient blood glucose control to allow patients to live without chasing blood sugar levels with injected insulin.

The Marat/King Dialogues
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Consequences of Cell Death in Islet Sheets?

August 17th, 2009

I wonder what happens when the encapsulated beta cells decay? Decaying tissue collapses into a wide variety of particles of different dimensions, so what ensures that they will not leak into the abdomen, which is literally a perfect medium ready to magnify even the slightest infection into instant peritonitis.

The Marat/King Dialogues
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Is Partial Control Good Enough?

August 17th, 2009

If patients have to fill in the difference between the control achieved with the beta cell encapsulated implant and the physiologic levels they are striving for, the shortfall may mean that there will not be much improvement in the complications. This is clear from the fact that even slight increases in blood sugar produce measurable worsening of complications…

The Marat/King Dialogues
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Potential Problems with Abdominal Site?

July 9th, 2009

If the insertion of the encapsulation into the abdomen has to be repeated every few years, have you considered the problem of scarring and surgical adhesions from these repeated procedures? The abdomen is not a paper bag that you can cut open and tape up indefinitely without consequences.

The Marat/King Dialogues
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The cost of pig Islets: Too High?

July 9th, 2009

With respect to the cost, how much of this comes from the supposed need to raise the pigs used for the islet cells in sterile conditions? In European fresh cell treatment centers, patients…

The Marat/King Dialogues
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Is a price of $100,000 cost effective?

July 9th, 2009

Encapsulations will certainly never be cost-effective if they cost $100,000 each, as LCT estimates, if they have to be replaced every two years, and if they are not 100% effective even while they do work.

The Marat/King Dialogues
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LCT Microcapsules will be Available Soon; Islet Sheet Obsolete?

July 9th, 2009

You report that clinical studies in humans are expected to begin for your work in 2013, but you must have noticed that LCT is already claiming that it will be ready to offer its product on a commercial basis in 18 months.

The Marat/King Dialogues
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