Research Shows Promise for Improved Diabetes Treatment
Recent developments in diabetes research around the globe may provide security and relief to those who suffer from both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. In early June, several research groups based in the United States released information about their studies at a conference hosted by the American Diabetes Association.
Over the past couple of decades, obesity has become a major health concern around the world, particularly in developed countries. With this weight problem has come a severe increase in cases of diabetes. The most prominent form of diabetes resulting from obesity is Type 2, or non-insulin-dependent, diabetes, which affects approximately 95 percent of those dealing with diabetes. As a result, pharmaceutical companies have focused on both regulating blood glucose levels, the main cause for concern with diabetes, as well as helping people lose weight in the hope of eliminating the issue.
The past decade has seen a drastic increase in funding for diabetes research. Revenue has, , increased, providing pharmaceutical companies with incentive to increase research efforts. Experts expect revenue to reach more than $50 billion in 2020. Costs associated with the treatment of diabetes, though, already amount to more than $200 billion, according to the ADA.
While many diabetes patients must deal with high blood sugar levels, they also have to make sure their glucose levels do not drop too far, a serious medical condition known as hypoglycemia. An experimental drug named Degludec, which is being tested by Novo Nordisk AS, a company based in Denmark that leads the world in diabetes-based revenue, may give diabetes sufferers an easy way to avoid both problems.
Currently, the French diabetes company Santofi provides the top-selling form of insulin in the world, Lantus. However, a study conducted by Novo Nordisk showed that, when compared to Lantus, Degludec significantly reduced the rate of low blood glucose problems, in some cases by as much as 36 percent. According to the study, Degludec also gives people more leeway with their insulin schedules, as it appears to stay in the bloodstream for longer than 24 hours, although the exact length of time differs from person to person.
Other companies are also producing drugs to improve the situation for those with diabetes. Several companies manufacture 24-hour pills, such as Johnson & Johnson’s canagliflozin, which aims to increase the amount of glucose released during urination to regulate blood glucose levels. Others are working on short-term solutions to the symptoms diabetes patients deal with on a regular basis. One example is a drug in development by a partnership between Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and German Boehringer Ingelheim, currently named LY2605541, which simply lowers blood glucose levels temporarily, as well as assist with weight-loss. Other concepts currently in development include insulin patches and artificial pancreases.
Despite these many developments, though, most of them have not, as of yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, meaning they are not currently available at pharmacies and other retailers. However, several of these companies have already applied for FDA approval and could become available within the next few months.