BY AMANDA SCHAFFER: In 1921, the Canadian scientist and physician Frederick Banting found that a protein isolated from the pancreas of dogs could lower blood sugar in human beings. “Insulin does not belong to me, it belongs to the world,” Banting, who sold the patent rights to his discovery to the University of Toronto for one dollar, enabling its widespread distribution, said. Before this breakthrough, physicians often recommended a near-starvation diet for children with Type 1 diabetes; one of Banting’s first insulin patients, a teen-age girl who had survived on extreme caloric restriction and weighed a mere forty-five pounds, began to thrive when given access to the medication, gained weight, and lived to the age of seventy-three. (read more)
BY CBS NEW YORK: There’s an exciting new development for people with diabetes.
A tiny implantable sensor that continuously monitors a diabetic’s blood sugar is the next generation of continuous glucose monitors, CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez reported Tuesday.
A CGM is the blood-sugar version of wearable health devices, and it is making finger sticks to check blood sugar almost a thing of the past.
Most are wearable devices, but a new one isn’t worn. It’s implanted.
BY Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo: People who suffer from obesity and type 2 diabetes are more likely to become victims of infectious diseases. Both conditions affect the immune system and hence increase the risk of infections. Scientists have long sought a deeper understanding of the mechanism underlying this weakness in the immune system of obese and diabetic individuals.
A study performed at the University of São Paulo’s Biomedical Science Institute (ICB-USP) in Brazil has now demonstrated that the propensity of people with obesity and type 2 diabetes to contract infectious diseases is associated with alterations to neutrophils, which are white blood cells that are part of the immune system and inflammatory response and the first cells to react to the presence of an invasive pathogen in the organism. (read more)
Many diabetics struggle to afford insulin and there’s little the US can do to regulate skyrocketing prescription drug prices
BY JAY REED and ANDREA SCHMITZ: (video transcript) Narrator: Many people in the United States can’t afford insulin. The average price for one vial of insulin is about $285. Most diabetics need two to four vials per month. But here’s the thing. Insulin prices weren’t always this high. “Inexpensive, easily accessible.”
Narrator: A Type 1 diabetes diagnosis was a death sentence before this life-saving discovery.
Commercial: “The all-essential insulin.”
Narrator: Without insulin, an essential hormone that regulates blood sugar, your body can’t regulate how much glucose enters your cells, and your cells starve. The medical researchers who patented their invention in 1923 wanted insulin to be affordable for even the poorest sufferers from diabetes. Sure, there have been major improvements.
Commercial: “This new genetically-engineered insulin has two distinct advantages.”
Narrator: The most recent was about 15 years ago. Insulin’s still an old drug. It’s shocking that the price has increased so dramatically. When a drug has been on the market for enough time, its patent expires, ending its reign of market exclusivity and opening the door to generic competition. This should drive the prices down.
Jeremy Greene: And what’s happening with insulin is a real violation of our expectations, because this is an old drug that is now becoming inaccessibly expensive, long after its worth has been proven, and long after that cost of original innovation of these drugs has already been recouped. (read more)
BY LAIRD HARRISON: Could our whole theory about the most common causes of death be wrong?
Over the past few decades, the focus of public health has shifted from infectious diseases to lifestyle. Now that we have tamed such scourges as tuberculosis, pneumonia, and cholera, the story goes, we need to focus on exercise and diet. (read more)