On World Diabetes Day, it is important to remember that while significant progress has been made in treatment, diabetes remains the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. Currently, 30 million Americans have diabetes and 1.4 million new cases are diagnosed each year. Patients with diabetes often face a number of serious complications—including a two times greater risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Unfortunately, just half of treated patients have the disease under control.
Today’s biopharmaceutical researchers are working to find new lifesaving and life-changing treatments and cures to address this complex disease. But there is hope in the research that is happening currently.
For many, successful management of diabetes requires constant and diligent monitoring, multiple daily injections and often the coordination of multiple oral medicines alongside a patient’s carefully planned daily routine to avoid the serious disease complications. The treatment advances occurring over the past decade offer not only improved patient outcomes, but they offer greater opportunity for patients to better manage their disease. Treatments today offer patients:
- Better, more sustained glycemic control
- Reduced pill burden
- More convenient delivery mechanisms
- Simplified daily routines
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular death
- Undoubtedly, careful monitoring and treatment of diabetes are still vital. But it is promising that more than 170 medicines are currently in development for type 1 and type 2 diabetes and diabetes-related conditions, such as chronic kidney disease and diabetic neuropathy. All of these medicines are in clinical trials or awaiting review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
For example, in late 2016, the FDA approved the first hybrid closed-loop insulin delivery system, a new treatment technology that enables direct communication between the continuous glucose monitoring device and insulin pump, essentially removing the patient from the equation. It’s now being hailed as the world’s first artificial pancreas.