New diabetes research provides to Type 1 patients

Researchers from BC Children's aim to understand what triggers Type 1 diabetes


By Rigo Bacaltos

The director of BC Diabetes has hope for a new research project led by BC Children’s Hospital, aiming to uncover the origin of Type 1 diabetes.

Researchers leading the project want to understand why the immune system of those with diabetes attacks the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin.

“Much of diabetes research has been focused on finding a cure,” according to the BC Children’s Hospital website. The project claims to be wanting to understand the fundamental reason Type 1 diabetes occurs.

But why?

Dr. Tom Elliott, Medical Director of BC Diabetes, said that researchers know the cause for type one diabetes, what researchers aren’t sure of is what causes the immune system to go rogue in the first place.

“If we knew what the trigger was, and if the trigger were preventable or avoidable … that might be something that could be introduced as a public health measure,” said Elliott. “[Our] way of living could change for everybody.”

Input from nurses

Shida Nyirenda, a nurse working at the Surrey Memorial Hospital, said that the project at BC Children’s Hospital would have a substantial impact on those diagnosed with type one diabetes.

“Financially, it may be less medication and hospital visits,” Nyirenda said.

“This is very exciting stuff,” said Elliott. “It’s laboratory scientists who are working in minute detail … it’s very, very important.”

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