Tests show a man from Northamptonshire may well hold the secret to a cure for an illness that kills 1.5 million people every year.
This newspaper reported last month that Daniel Darkes, from Daventry, a diabetic for the past seven years, had ceased taking his insulin injections after his blood sugar levels returned to below average/average to low levels, suggesting that his pancreas had started functioning again.
Daniel has since travelled to the United States last week where doctors in St Louis, Missouri, performed numerous tests in an effort to ascertain what had happened.
And a first round of tests seem to suggest that his diabetes has indeed disappeared, with scientists putting the probability of his potentially miraculous recovery being genuine at 80 per cent.
Daniel, who has been branded 'Miracle Dan' by his friends said: “I had numerous tests, about four or five, to confirm the main reason why my pancreas had started producing insulin again.
“One of the tests involved me running on a treadmill. They starved me for a good six hours before, and I spent about 30 minutes running at a constant speed to see if my brain went into a kind of shock mode, or starvation mode, to see if it would send signals down to the organs, i.e. my pancreas, which it did.”
Other tests included the insertion of a microchip into Daniel’s lower back to measure his protein levels, and shining of a UV light to detect cells in his pancreas, which scientists found.
The tests could hold the key to finding a cure for the disease in the future, and it is hoped Daniel’s trip to America could be looked back on in years to come as the first step. About 1.5 million people die of all types of diabetes each year and it drastically affects the lives of millions more every day.
It is thought that the reason behind Daniel’s apparent recovery is a specific signal sent by his brain to his organ, and figuring out why and how it did that may hold the key to the cure.
Daniel has covered many miles as a long-distance runner and scientists believe this might hold the key.
The results of the various tests are being processed in Northampton and they are expected to be published next week. Daniel hopes that they will confirm that he is free of prescriptions and has no need for insulin injections.
He will need to undergo regular check-ups and perhaps further tests, but should Daniel be indefinitely cured of the disease it would be an extremely rare case, with no such cases on record.
“There’s not a lot of awareness about diabetes at the minute. People think that diabetes is you eat too much sugar, you put on weight and you’ve got it,” said Daniel.
“But with type 1 you’re just unlucky to get it, and to reverse that... I was not expecting it - it’s a rare case. You can reverse type 2 through dieting and exercise but type 1 is not something that happens every day.
“I think it’s a big breakthrough. With type 1, your pancras is completely dead, while with type 2 you have insulin but not enough for your body.
“So if the pancreas is able to recharge itself in some way then that is a big step.”