Future Of Diabetes Depends On All Of Us

Future Of Diabetes Depends On All Of Us

11.15.12 | By Preet Bilinski

We continue to focus on diabetes [visit the Medicines in Development for Diabetes resource center] with a guest post from Novo Nordisk's Ken Inchausti. Ken has been an advocate in the fight against diabetes since early in his career when he worked at the local and national levels of the American Diabetes Association. Now he is a director at Novo Nordisk, a company driven by the needs of people with diabetes, they work at the frontiers of science to improve treatments and create more opportunities to live well with the condition.

Out of all the statistics about the health of our nation, there's one we should be particularly concerned about: 1 in 3.

A child born in 2000 - our millennial generation - has a 1 in 3 chance of developing diabetes in his or her lifetime. And the cascade of possibilities that come with that diagnosis is equally disconcerting - increased risk for heart disease, heart attack, stroke, blindness, and amputation. Consider that not too long ago, we rarely saw children and young adults getting Type 2 diabetes - a form of the disease that seemed reserved for older patients. The increase in diabetes is also found in Type 1 diabetes, where the body attacks its own pancreas, destroying beta cells that produce insulin.

We funded forecasting research suggesting that the total diabetes population in the US could reach more than 53 million by 2025. The cost? Diabetes directly and indirectly takes out one dollar in every ten spent by private insurance, and contributes to 25% of all Medicare spending. It'll get worse by 2025. Should we allow this to continue?

In the video, Matthias speaks about the importance of collaboration within the pharmaceutical research field. But let's think about collaboration not just in medicine development, but in public and community health and even a cure.

I just visited a Native American reservation, where diabetes affects a significant portion of their population, and tribal leaders are concerned about their younger generation thinking about this serious disease in terms of "when I get it," not "if." The same is being said within other diverse communities hit hard by diabetes - African Americans, Latinos, Asian-Americans. Evidence-based programming programs like the National Diabetes Prevention Program from the CDC need our support, and we should be lifting up more efforts in our backyards that deal with diabetes with community solutions and individual empowerment.

Innovation within the industry's pipeline is rich with new therapies, and we should all welcome the promise of new medicines that will help physicians enable their patients to achieve their goals and reduce the likelihood of complications. But we should be seriously talking about prevention - what kind of public-private partnerships can enable society to recognize its risk and take even small steps to reduce the future burden of diabetes, much like what we see from the World Diabetes Foundation . And how can we - academia and industry - put our heads together and explore more avenues toward a cure, much like our own Hagedorn Institute in Denmark ?

Isn't it time we improve the odds?

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