UAB study brings hope to families of young diabetics

(WIAT 42)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT)- Click-clack.


“My trains off the track!”

They’re typical sounds you hear from a house with a kindergartner. Caden James Mitchell is your typical kindergartner. The basement of his house looks like an aerial view of a bustling train station. Like a station, Caden James has a schedule he has to keep. His, however, is to manage his Type 1 diabetes.

“It was extremely overwhelming at first,” said his mother, Stacy Mitchell. “You go from not having to have to think about insulin-to-carb ratios, not having to correct high blood sugars.” Her son was diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic at age two. Since then, the emotional strain has eased every so slightly, as Caden James and his family have adjusted to life with diabetes. The cost is much harder to adjust to deal with. “This is what keeps him alive month to month,” said Mitchell, gesturing to a table covered in supplies ranging from low sugar juice boxes to bottles of insulin. “It’s scary. I think we tallied it up to be around $2,000 a month.”

MORE: UAB cures diabetes in lab mice, preparing for human trial

The UAB Comprehensive Diabetes Center, working through a grant from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), hopes the strain on the Mitchell family could be nearing an end. Researchers are set to begin a human clinical trial using Verapamil as a treatment for type 1 diabetes. “This is the tip of the iceberg,” said Aubrey Miller, Executive Director of the Alabama chapter of JDRF. “I think that [people need to] keep the hope, because hope is the driving force to better management.”

Verapamil has already proven to cure diabetes in lab mice according to Dr. Anath Shalev with the UAB CDC.

Miller knows first-hand how worrisome life with a type 1 diabetic child can be; his daughter is also type 1. He said, “When they’re little and you begin to think about and question if they are going to be able to live a long time, are they going to be able to have children, are they going to be able to live to their twentieth birthday?” He, along with diabetic patients and their families across the country, are excited about the work at UAB, but they’ve also learned to temper their enthusiasm. “Anything and everything they find is a blessing,” said Stacy Mitchell, while her son played in the basement. “Keeping the hope for tomorrow; but at the same time, it’s not not tomorrow.”

Copyright 2014 WIAT 42 News

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