Diabetes Research in 2014
Within type 1 diabetes research in 2014, artificial pancreas technology and stem cell research continue to take important steps forward.
For type 2 diabetes, low carb diets are becoming a more dominant feature of diet research and new drugs wait in the pipeline.
2014 marked the results of the first time in which artificial pancreas technology was trialled in patients with type 1 diabetes in their own homes.
The research which was funded by the JDRF, reduced the number and duration of nocturnal hypos in the trial’s teenage participants.
Low carb diets for type 2 diabetes
It’s been known for a while that low carb diets are linked with improved blood glucose levels over a period of months but, in 2014, a number of new research studies have shown even more compelling evidence of low carb diets being linked with greater health, even over periods of years.
- Low carb Mediterranean diet outperforms low fat diet over 8 year study
- Low carb diets linked with lower inflammation in type 2 diabetes
- Low carb slimming club menu outperforms low fat menu for type 2 diabetes
Stem cell research
Whilst islet cell transplantation (the transplantation of insulin producing cells into the body of people with type 1 diabetes) has been carried out for a number of years, one of the problems that have held it back from being a more regularly available treatment is that islet cells from human donors are in short supply.
Research teams from a number of different countries are developing new ways, involving stem cell technology, to cultivate insulin producing cells in order to get around this problem:
- Jan 2014: Swedish researchers grow islet cells from embryonic stem cells
- Apr 2014: Cloning technique used to create personalised islet cells
New type 2 diabetes drug
Results of a clinical trial into a new type 2 diabetes drug, currently known as ISIS-GCGR(Rx), showed promising results. The medication inhibits the action of the endocrine hormone glucagon.
Results of a phase II trial (new drugs must pass through 3 phases of clinical trials) showed the new medication was able to reduce HbA1c levels by 2%.
Whilst the HbA1c reductions are strong, the drug will need to show it is effective, and also safe, within the next phase of clinical trials, which will take at least another few years, to be considered for marketing approval.