In search of a cure

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page - By KA­T­RINA LINTONBON

Di­a­betes Youth Mata­mata and the Spinal Cord So­ci­ety NZ (SC­SNZ) have joined forces to find a pos­si­ble stem cell ther­apy or even a cure for type 1 di­a­betes.

Now they need to raise a sig­nif­i­cant amount of money to see the clin­i­cal tri­als go ahead.

Mata­mata’s Noela Val­lis, who is well known for her pas­sion to use stem cell ther­apy for treat­ment of spinal cord in­juries, said: ‘‘We can do this, we just need the funds.’’

‘‘Any fi­nan­cial con­tri­bu­tion big or small will be greatly ap­pre­ci­ated.’’

Type 1 Di­a­betes We Care We Can Cure is only in the early stages of es­tab­lish­ment but ev­ery­one who has jumped on board has one aim – to find a cure for this con­di­tion which at­tacks the be­ta­cells in the pan­creas that pro­duce in­sulin.

Sci­en­tists in New Zealand are lead­ing ground-break­ing re­search into con­duct­ing clin­i­cal tri­als on pa­tients with type 1 di­a­betes us­ing stem cells to al­low the grad­ual re­cov­ery of in­sulin.

Dr Paul Turner, a sci­en­tist at the SC­SNZ lab­o­ra­tory in Dunedin and a suf­ferer of type 1 di­a­betes him­self, is lead­ing the study.

‘‘When I asked him to do this re­search I didn’t re­alise he was type 1. This is very per­sonal for Paul,’’ Mrs Val­lis said.

Pu­taruru man Martin Blox­ham, who works at New World Mata­mata, will lead fundrais­ing ef­forts which kick off with a com­edy evening in Auck­land.

Other fundrais­ing events will in­clude a for­mal din­ner with MasterChef con­tes­tant Cameron Pet­ley and a Spring to Sum­mer event.

The Light­house to Light­house One Mil­lion Dol­lar Run will see Mr Blox­ham run from one end of the coun­try to the other in an ef­fort to raise the $1 mil­lion needed for the re­search to be con- ducted suc­cess­fully. ‘‘ I’ve had mem­bers of my fam­ily who have died from com­pli­ca­tions caused by type 1 di­a­betes,’’ he said.

‘‘It means a lot to be in­volved with some­thing as big as this.’’

The Mata­mata Chron­i­cle will fol­low these fundrais­ing ven­tures as they take place.

A Face­book page un­der the name, Type 1 Di­a­betes We Care We Can Cure has been set up.

Click on the like but­ton to fol­low the group’s progress.

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