Looking for a diabetes cure in Minnesota

Lab work
A student in Meri Firpo's lab works on stem cell research at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minn. Dec. 5, 2011. Firpo leads the research on transforming skin cells into insulin-producing cells that could benefit diabetics. Firpo has been working on the stem cell research and gene expression analysis at the University of Minnesota for more than five years.
MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson

"The worldwide diabetes epidemic is taking a huge toll in Minnesota," wrote MPR News reporter Lorna Benson in January 2012. "One-third of all adults in the state either have diabetes or are pre-diabetic, with blood glucose levels that are higher than normal."

Benson's report continues,

Over the past 15 years, the number of Minnesotans with diabetes has grown so fast that state health officials describe the disease as a juggernaut threatening to overwhelm the state's health care system.

In human terms, diabetes is measured in heart failure, amputations and loss of eyesight. Measured in dollars, the cost is enormous: $2.6 billion a year in Minnesota alone.

As bleak as the numbers are, there is some hope. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota have set out to conquer diabetes within 10 years.

One year into this effort, dubbed "The Decade of Discovery," The Daily Circuit will check in with Dr. Besty Seaquist, diabetes researcher at the University of Minnesota and program lead for Decade of Discovery, to see what progress they've made.

Also on the program: Dr. Ann Albright, Director of the division of diabetes translation at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


The Burden of Diabetes, The Hope for a Cure (MPR News special project)

Minnesota researchers on the cusp of a diabetes cure (MPR News)

The Y Takes On Diabetes (The Wall Street Journal)

Video: Dr. Ann Albright discusses her diabetes diagnosis at the age of 9 (dLife)

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