A few months ago, I interviewed Daniel Darkes, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in February 2011. Miraculously, in December 2016, after repeated episodes of hypoglycemia, Darkes went off insulin. Doctors said his pancreas showed signs of producing insulin again.
Since writing the article, people have reached out to me asking for more information about Darkes and his situation, and specifically, how to cure diabetes. I’m sure he, too, has been receiving a lot of queries. Having shared everything I knew in the article, I could not provide anyone with further details. But this I can tell you: There is no cure for type 1 diabetes.
The case of Daniel Darkes is a head-scratcher and it is certainly something we are keeping an eye on. When we spoke back in March, Darkes had recently returned from the United States where he had undergone tests to try to explain what was happening to make his body produce insulin again. According to Diabetes.co.uk, Daniel is now being seen every two weeks at Northampton General Hospital for check-ups.
“Prior to the tests scientists attributed the probability of Mr Darkes’ miraculous recovery being genuine at 80 per cent. They considered his recovery could have been caused by a signal sent from Mr Darkes’ brain to his pancreas,” Diabetes.co.uk reported.
Darkes recently told the Daventry Express: “My tests indicated that doctors found a rare gene in my results and that [it] has acted as a ‘backup’ immune system.
“The gene has basically recharged my immune system and pancreas, kicking into action beta cells which have laid dormant for the time I have had type 1.
“The consultants haven’t ruled out the possibility that me staying active and running was the trauma or shock which triggered the healing process.”
These statements are certainly intriguing, but their vagueness leaves us all with perhaps more questions than before. While diet and exercise may enable some people with type 2 diabetes to manage the condition without medication, this is not the case with type 1 diabetes. The suggestion of Darkes’ consultants that exercise could have triggered a healing process can be misleading and potentially perilous. In Darkes’ defense, however, it doesn’t seem like he was trying to cure himself. His phenomenon just happened, and he is as anxious for answers as everyone else.
When I asked if he worries that others will try to cure themselves and the possible dangers of this, Daniel emphasized, “Others shouldn’t just stop taken insulin. I’m a different case, and hopefully something can come out of this for the future [benefit of other] type 1s.”
He told the Daventry Express, “Further analysis is being carried out and it is taking a bit longer than I thought. It is frustrating, I’ve found it hard waiting around because I want the answers too.”
Daniel says that he is still feeling physically great, and he has not been taking any insulin for the past seven months. He is running and training for an ultramarathon. “My passion is my running,” he said. “So I will keep going.”