News of the Center
News — Summer 2023
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Message from the Director
This era of incretin hormones, which started 15 years ago with Byetta, and has advanced through the variations Victoza, Saxenda and Bydureon. The field has recently exploded
into people’s consciousness over the past year in the form of Ozempic, Wegovy and Mounjaro. And at the ADA meeting this past June data on even more effective incretin hormones was discussed. For me the hype is tempered with a belief in the fact that lifestyle—diet and exercise—still and always will matter. All medications have side effects and people need to be aware of the risks. However, for those with type 2 diabetes the benefits of these agents far exceed the risks, especially for those who would otherwise be on insulin.
However, the incretin hormones are not the only key to a healthy life with diabetes. For many these medications are too expensive or have too many side effects. Other medications for treating diabetes still exist and can do a good job, although without the potential for weight loss. At the ADA meeting the 40-year anniversary of the landmark type 1 diabetes trial known as DCCT/EDIC showed the long-term value of early intensive glucose control to reduce the complications of high glucose levels. This follows the 44-year anniversary of the UKPDS trial which demonstrated similar benefits in people with type 2 diabetes.
The most exciting announcement at the meeting was a step in the direction of a treatment for type 1 diabetes using stem-cell derived beta-cells that has “cured,” or more precisely now made a handful of people who previously had type 1 diabetes insulin independent for over a year. This is possible due to the work of a company called Vertex which has developed a way to grow insulin-producing beta cells that have been implanted in six study participants and are working to various degrees in this small sample. Right now, all these individuals also need to take medications to also suppress their immune system from rejecting these new cells, but there is hope that there will be a way to eliminate this step in the future.
There are now a variety of automated insulin delivery system pumps that should soon start working with the new smaller continuous glucose monitors. The newest pumps are the Medtronic 780G, the Tandem Mobi and the easy-to-use Beta-Bionic iLet system. There are additional hybrid closed loop systems in development, but the limit to their effectiveness remains the relatively slow action of injected insulin.
More progress seems to be occurring in terms of treating and monitoring diabetes than ever before. Success is possible if access to diabetes care is available. And individualization of care is vital to diabetes management, which is what I strive to do for each of you.
L A T E S T N E W S
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