Most of you who waste your precious time reading this blog know that I am “elderly”; I will be 73 later this year.
You may also know that I have been a type 1 diabetic for virtually all of my life. Two shots of insulin a day for as long as I can remember.
I survived a heart attack in 1995; slept through it, got up and went to work. No massive pain. No elephant sitting on my chest. Just a small strange pain about the size of the tip of my finger in the middle of my chest. I felt like I was getting the flu; low grade fever, general aches and fatigue. I drove to work on the Jersey Turnpike at my usual 80 miles an hour. Could have killed a whole bunch of folks.
I took a few sick days but didn’t feel any better. When I wound up in the emergency room a young female cardiologist informed me I had a heart attack about a week ago, at which point my wife looked worse than I did. She was probably picturing me dead in her bed or in the front page report of the massive car crash at Exit 11 caused by a driver who died at the wheel.
I had a stroke in 2004 when she died, leaving me blind on my left. She always told me when discussing my health that “you sick bastards bury everybody!” She was right.
I had major surgery on my eyes four years ago to stop the blood vessels from leaking into the vitreous – the goop inside your eye which gives it it’s shape. Prior to the operation I was blind for about a month. Complications of the disease.
Back to diabetes.
I never expected to live this long. My mother, who had the same condition, died at 43.
Most of you know that diabetes is a leading cause of amputation of the toes, foot or lower leg. Many times it begins with an ulcer on the foot or the sole which will not heal. The ulcer gets worse and the flesh surrounding it first gets infected and then begins to die. The area sometimes does not respond to treatment and becomes deep, extensive and potentially terminal – meaning it has to be cut off if you want to live. It is not a problem you want to have which is why foot care is so important to long term diabetics. My cousin lost his lower legs before he died in his forties.
Well it seems scientists at the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB) in Cuba have been working on this problem for quite some time – a cure for diabetic foot ulceration.
The product is Heberprot-P.
The product contains epidermal growth factor (EGF) to be applied by intra-lesional injections directly in the wound site. It has been found to “promote granulation and healing in advanced diabetic foot ulcers”.
“Heberprot-P is indicated for the treatment of deep, extensive, and terminal diabetic foot ulcers not responding to comprehensive and/or extensive conventional methods,”
“The injected recombinant EGF has the potential to promote complete granulation in more than 80%, with complete wound healing (re-epithelialization) in more than 50% of subjects usually unresponsive to other treatments. Injected recombinant EGF has the potential to reduce amputation rates, with a considerable personal and public health improvement, including longer survival”
The drug is currently in use in Cuba (since 2007), and now Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela, Russia, Turkey, and in the Dominican Republic, Kuwait, Vietnam, and the Philippines. Clinical trials in China and the European Union began in 2012.
“The drug has seen successful use in Algeria where at least 700 patients with diabetes could avoid amputation and another 3000 cases of gangrene have been treated. A local firm is manufacturing the drug in Algeria. In South-east Asian countries such as Vietnam and the Philippines, the drug is being used as an advanced wound care healing drug and may be accessed through wound care clinics or wound care specialists among hospitals.”
So where has this drug been?
Well you see, it was a commie drug under embargo and besides our drug companies couldn’t make a whole lot of money on it ‘cause it was patented elsewhere so they weren’t interested. And our government wasn’t interested in it ’cause like I said – it was a commie drug. So you can lose your foot for politics.
Some 21,000 people suffering diabetic foot ulcers (DFU) have been treated in Cuba with Heperprot-P, considered the only alternative to prevent the amputation of extremities in patients with terminal injuries. Almost six years after the comprehensive care program to treat patients with DFU with Heberprot-P started (June 30, 2007), results are favorable, according to a report provided by the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in Havana.
So if you are a long term diabetic like me and you have a foot ulcer not responding to treatment – you know where to go to save your foot.