Blog | Tuesday, March 22, 2011

QD: News Every Day--10 areas of diabetes research to highlight for the next 10 years

A new strategic plan to guide diabetes-related research over the next decade identifies 10 broad areas with the greatest potential to help patients.

Diabetes by Jill A. Brown via Flickr/Creative Commons licenseThe plan focuses on 10 areas of diabetes research with the most promise:
--genetic basis of type 1 and 2 diabetes, obesity and their complications,
--type 1 diabetes and autoimmunity,
--type 2 diabetes and its effects on multiple organ systems and metabolism,
--obesity as a risk factor,
--beta cell dysfunction,
--development of an artificial pancreas,
--clinical research and clinical trials,
--special needs for special populations,
--diabetes complications, and
--translating clinical research to practice.

The plan was developed by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), headed by Director Griffin P. Rodgers, MACP, (who is profiled here). Under the plan, the National Institutes of Health will continue to emphasize clinical research in humans, which already has led to highly effective methods for managing diabetes and preventing complications, Dr. Rodgers said.

In addition, the plan addresses gestational diabetes. Women who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes, and the child of that pregnancy may also be at increased risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Today, about 1 in 10 adults in the United States has diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 1.9 million Americans aged 20 years or older were newly diagnosed with diabetes in 2010. In addition, an estimated 79 million American adults have pre-diabetes. (Learn more about addressing pre-diabetes with patients here.)

By 2050, as many as one in three adults could be diagnosed with diabetes if current trends continue, according to the CDC. The projection assumes that recent increases in new cases of diabetes will continue and people with diabetes will also live longer, which adds to the total number of people with the disease. Total costs of diabetes, including medical care, disability and premature death, reached an estimated $174 billion in 2007.