The real McCoy: my experience of therapy to reverse type 1 diabetes

For one guy, the idea of developing a cure for type 1 diabetes have proved a gamble…

For a guy living with type 1 diabetes, they may seem like the very concept of a cure is preferable to any common cure. Since 2007, Kevin Hargreaves has been searching to understand how he can reverse his condition. Most doctors believe he needs to try a replacement drug to keep blood sugar levels in check. One potential candidate for this is insulin.

Having tried five different insulin shots over the years, Hargreaves is frustrated and angry at not being able to reverse his condition. Until recently he thought it was the complexity of this treatment which kept him from unlocking the secret to reversing diabetes. However, his health secretary must now explain to him why the new treatment he went on wasn’t working.

Little did he know that in May 2017, his life would change forever.

The Self Help Institute, a pharmaceutical company owned by Dr Richard Harris, announced plans to develop a new treatment for diabetes – which could potentially be available within the next 5 years.

The ‘Dream’ treatment proposed by Harris involves treating type 1 diabetics with neuro-toxic agents that kill myeliac, insulinoma and rhabdomyolysis (molybdenum cofactor), three potentially fatal diseases.

As the self-help guru responsible for this dream treatment, Harris is now employing Kevin Hargreaves to formulate and test the new treatment. On many occasions, Hargreaves has been assured that the treatment would definitely work, but after 10 years in continuous search, he is still waiting.

The problem lies in the fact that of all people, Hargreaves is not expected to be able to reverse type 1 diabetes. He’s a diabetic for 20 years now and given the fact that someone of his age cannot produce enough insulin to control blood sugar levels, it’s certain that his body will have tried and failed.

The other problem is that, although types 1 and 2 diabetes are treated equally, type 1 is much more difficult to treat than type 2. Before any treatment can be offered, the patient must be placed on a number of replacement drugs, both at the injection site and in the liver.

For months, Kevin has been watching numerous adverts on television with promises of futuristic medicines that will ‘transform your life’. His carers have had to clear his records, telling doctors that he has been living with type 1 diabetes for 20 years and that it needs to be treated as soon as possible.

Last week, desperate to be given hope, Kevin went back to Dr Harris and handed over the results of his glucose level tests. No matter how many different combinations he tried, his blood sugar levels stayed above 30. He was told that there was nothing more he could do.

After suffering for so long, he was given a reprieve. A few days ago, a ‘small’ injection has reversed Kevin’s diabetes for the first time in 20 years. To his surprise, it worked.

Kevin is thrilled. However, knowing his condition, his health secretary must be concerned. Not only must he explain how the bizarre treatment will affect his health, but all those other diabetics who will wait patiently for him to come up with a ‘formula’.

Well, Dr Harris, thankfully you’ve managed to persuade him to undergo your treatment. Thank goodness for the average lifespan of diabetics.

A cure for type 1 diabetes may be around the corner.

Ricardina Buckwalter, Community Funding and Communications Manager, The Royal National Institute for the Blind

This article was originally published by The Royal National Institute for the Blind.

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