Five advancements in diabetes treatment to watch
4. Concentrated insulin
Another advancement stems from the development of more concentrated insulins to benefit patients who have difficulty absorbing insulin. The most commonly prescribed insulins are known as “U100” insulin, in which there are 100 units of insulin in 1 milliliter of fluid.
“Some diabetics are quite insulin resistant and require high doses of insulin,” says Adimoolam. “We suspect that when insulin is injected at high volumes, it’s possible that 100% is not absorbed. Therefore, the patient is not getting the true amount of insulin being prescribed and their glucose values remain elevated.”
Concentrated insulins, referred to as “U200,” “U300,” or “U500,” can provide much more insulin per 1 milliliter of liquid. For example, U200 consists of 200 units of insulin per milliliter, U300 consists of 300 units of insulin per milliliter, and so forth. These insulins became publicly available in 2016.
“Concentrated insulins are better absorbed than U100 insulins because absorption of insulin is improved,” Adimoolam explains. “Concentrated insulins have helped improve diabetes control in those who take a significant amount of insulin (more than 40 units daily). Concentrated insulins cause less hypoglycemia in comparison to U100 insulin.”
5. Cell-based therapies
Some challenges related to pancreas transplants are the ability to harvest enough pancreatic cells and the ability to stop the body’s immune system from destroying these cells. Progress has been made in stem cell research and efforts to reprogram tissue-specific cells to overcome these barriers.
“A number of surgical advances have improved the early success rate of transplantation, and modern immunosuppressive strategies have improved the rate of longer term survival of tissue grafts,” Lucas says.
Karen Appold is a medical writer in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania.