Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Bostonians: You Can Help This Soldier's Dad, and All Who Suffer from Auto-Immune Diseases

Pictured at right is my daughter's dear friend Niriel. We are so proud of her commitment to serve in the Israeli army - this is her picture in her brand new fatigues. [Note to the Israeli Tourism Authority: feature Niriel in your next ad!] Niriel's father Michael has fought a long battle with Type 1 Diabetes; he alerted us to cutting edge research on this and other auto-immune diseases which promises to be life-transforming for the many victims of these illnesses, which include Crohn's disease, lupus, scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren's syndrome, and multiple sclerosis. (I'm sure everyone out there knows at least a few people in these categories....) I promised to help recruit volunteers for this long term study a few months ago and am following through on my promise.
The medical star of the story, Dr. Denise Faustman, has been working on a cure for auto-immune diseases for 15 years and is close to perfecting breakthrough treatment. Her clinical trials aim to actually correct Type 1 Diabetes, not just treat it - think how that would change people's lives! In order to fine-tune the therapies, her lab needs volunteers to give small amounts of blood. Volunteers cannot have an auto-immune disease or be a close relative of a person with an autoimmune disease. Participants in the program need donors on their behalf; Niriel's family is covered, but they are committed to recruiting more donors to expand the research. You can check out an interview with Dr. Faustman on NPR. The researchers are committed to this therapy avoiding a take-over by big-pharma - they do not want the treatment to be patented by corporations and priced out of reach of the millions of patients whose lives will be dramatically transformed by curing auto-immune diseases.
The Faustman Lab is in Charlestown, in the Boston area. If you're near there, go for it! If you have family or friends who are in the Boston area, please send this on to anyone you think would be willing to help. Michael tells me that a lot of Niriel's friends are in college in Boston and they've been especially forthcoming. Here is his personal contact info, if you'd like to speak to a patient in the study.

Here are the lab contacts, to arrange blood sample donation:

Faustman Lab
MGH-East, Bldg. 149
13th Street, Rm. 3602
Charlestown, MA 02129
Tel: 617-726-4084

Questions about the MGH
Diabetes Clinical Trial:

1 comment:

Bernard said...

I agree with you. I met Dr. Faustman in January to get some blood drawn.

I blogged about the meeting. And I'm looking forward to meeting her again in September.

They need people with type 1 diabetes and healthy people. This is a great opportunity to contribute to this research.