Monogenic Diabetes: Treatment with a Pill

Monogenic Diabetes: Treatment with a Pill
Monogenic diabetes can easily be treated with one pill a day instead of having to rely on insulin injections.

Can you imagine being misdiagnosed with a disease for 10 years when all you needed was a genetic test, that your doctor wouldn’t authorize, to lead you to the cure?

Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of fifteen, Michael Eieznga of Chicago received treatment for nearly 10 years before tests revealed he had monogenic diabetes, a rare form of diabetes which causes insulin producing cells to not function properly.

With no family history and having tested negative for antibodies, Michael had a diabetes condition that perplexed doctors…until one day he read an article in the Tribune about Lilly Jaffe, a young girl from Chicago who was also diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as a baby. The story explained the discovery of Jaffe not having Type 1 diabetes but rather a rare genetic mutation which caused insulin producing cells to not function properly and could simply be treated with pills. Michael brought the article to his doctor and asked for genetic testing, but his doctor closed the door on any such testing.

Perseverant, Michael continued his quest which led him to The University of Chicago. Sure enough, Michael was diagnosed with a form of monogenic diabetes.  Because of the work of The University of Chicago, treatment for Michael’s type of diabetes, MODY3, is an oral medication called Glyburide. Today Michael is insulin free and treats his diabetes with pills.

Although the University of Chicago’s medical breakthroughs won’t work for everyone, Michael’s story offers a tangible example of how diabetes research makes a difference in peoples’ lives and how it can help solve some of the pieces of the diabetes puzzle.

Find out more about the Kovler Center for Diabetes

Find out more about Kovler’s MODY registry.

Find out more about monogenic diabetes.

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