When medical researchers look for a new project to start work on, it can look like a gamble. And so, in a sense, it is – as big a gamble as betting the whole of your stake on red, or clicking on click here for an online slot machine. There’s no question that dollars have been lost in telephone numbers by pursuing what looked like a really good research opportunity. On the other hand…
All that research from time to time throws up some winners. Winners not only for the companies that introduce the products arising from the research, but winners also among the less fortunate members of the human race.
Type I diabetes has blighted and shortened the lives of a huge number of people. In the last 12 months, there have been two advances that have changed the horizon for sufferers. The first is the introduction of an artificial pancreas, a global first. Without this, people with type I diabetes have to check their blood sugar levels several times a day, every day. With it, a sensor measures insulin levels and a pump delivers insulin when it is required. Reducing the frequency of hypoglycemia in this way will have a remarkable impact on sufferers’ quality of life.
The second introduction for type I diabetic sufferers was sotagliflozin, a dual SGLT-1 and SGLT-2 inhibitor, which reduced A1C levels by an average of almost 50% and is also expected to yield benefits in the way of weight loss and reductions in systolic blood pressure.
Sufferers from the hepatitis C virus (HCV) also saw renewed hope in the past year when the drug Epclusa was approved by the FDA.
Without the focus of academic medicine professionals on understanding what causes disease and, having understood it, finding a solution that works, these scourges of human life would continue their harvest of misery and suffering.