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It's early in the morning and Allie Chavez will meet with Dr. Kurt Griffin at Sanford Health. Chavez was diagnosed with type one diabetes two years ago.
"It was, you know, a little scary," Chávez said. "It was something new and something that I never thought I would have to deal with in my life, but I manage what I have and I am grateful to have a life."
Chavez, who lives in southern Iowa, learned about Griffin and Sanford's T-Rex clinical trial through online research. More than 100 patients enrolled on the road, which attempts to rebalance the immune system.
"Now what we're trying to do is bring them back periodically and test them with a meal, in a jar, and see how much insulin they can still produce," Griffin said. "What we are trying to do here in the end is to preserve insulin production, if we can make someone produce as much insulin as when they first entered, that would be a great victory."
That is what Chávez is doing today. Your blood sugar level will be evaluated at intervals to see how high your levels are because of the chocolate shake. Type 1 diabetics treat the disease by injecting insulin several times a day.
"Sometimes it can be difficult," Chávez said. "It's really hard to find the right proportion for every situation."
The T-Rex test is a step in Sanford Health's quest to cure type 1 diabetes. Patients are followed for two years after therapy.
"There are some people who are doing extremely well, regardless of whether that's from the studio or not, that's good for them," Griffin said.
"I think it's really amazing what they are trying to do here in terms of trying to find, if not so much a cure, an extension of the honeymoon phase, which I think is really interesting," Chávez said. "I just wanted to see if you could help me and, even if I can not, the data I provide may help other people in the future, possibly."
Video credits to Sanford Health YouTube channel