I just finished reading Michael Bliss’s excellent The Discovery of Insulin about the amazing work at the University of Toronto in 1921-1923 by Banting, Best, Collip, and Macloed. For most readers, it’s surely a story about discovery and rivalry and collaboration in medicine, culminating in the first effective treatment of diabetes and (very quickly thereafter) the Nobel Prize for Medicine.
For me it was also a history of what I avoided by being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes after 1922. Bliss includes a small sample of the lives of some of the people afflicted with diabetes before the discovery of insulin. I was truly inspired by those who were fortunate enough to receive this “miracle drug,” but I was heartbroken by all of the people of that age who didn’t make it because the only treatment was to survive on a meager 500-or-so calories for intolerable months until slipping into the coma of ketoacidosis and then (eventually) death.
It’s been almost 89 years since the first successful clinical use of insulin, but we still don’t have a cure. At best, insulin is the key part of a hormone replacement therapy where people with diabetes try to mimic a pancreas. At worst, insulin is a fickle treatment that is difficult to use, expensive, and out of reach of millions of people worldwide.
While I’m so grateful for what I have — a treatment that gives life — what we need now is a cure . . . even if it’s only useful for people who are not yet sick or are newly diagnosed.
If you’re working on a cure or a new therapy for diabetes, the rest of this post is for you.
I will help you with any technical software aspects of your research that you need. If you have questions about MATLAB or C++, I will do my very best to answer them. If you need help with software design or object-oriented analysis/design, I can help you structure your solution. If you require some help with the non-development aspects of software development — such as project management or using tools — I will help you there, too.
My particular areas of expertise are MATLAB, C++, medical imaging formats (such as DICOM), some familiarity with image processing, and multithreaded programming using Intel’s TBB. I also know my fair share about life with diabetes. I can’t promise that I’ll have all of the answers to your particular question, but I’ll work with you as much as I can. And I’ll connect you with my coworkers as much as I can, if it comes down to that. Finding a cure that’s safe, effective, and universally accessible isn’t my day job, but moving into the third era of diabetes where no one dies from it and no one has to impersonate a pancreas is something I’d love to be a small (even anonymous) part of.