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What Is the Status of Diabetes Research?

NIDDK conducts research in its own laboratories and supports a great deal of basic and clinical research in medical centers and hospitals throughout the United States. It also gathers and analyzes statistics about diabetes. Other Institutes at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conduct and support research on diabetes-related eye diseases, heart and vascular complications, pregnancy, and dental problems.

Other Government agencies that sponsor diabetes programs are the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Indian Health Service, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Defense.

Many organizations outside of the Government support diabetes research and education activities. These organizations include the American Diabetes Association, the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International, and the American Association of Diabetes Educators.

In recent years, advances in diabetes research have led to better ways to manage diabetes and treat its complications. Major advances include

  • The development of a quick-acting insulin analog.
  • Better ways to monitor blood glucose and for people with diabetes to check their own blood glucose levels.
  • Development of external insulin pumps that deliver insulin, replacing daily injections.
  • Laser treatment for diabetic eye disease, reducing the risk of blindness.
  • Successful transplantation of kidneys and pancreas in people whose own kidneys fail because of diabetes.
  • Better ways of managing diabetes in pregnant women, improving chances of successful outcomes.
  • New drugs to treat type 2 diabetes and better ways to manage this form of diabetes through weight control.
  • Evidence that intensive management of blood glucose reduces and may prevent development of diabetes complications.
  • Demonstration that antihypertensive drugs called ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors prevent or delay kidney failure in people with diabetes.
  • Promising results with islet transplantation for type 1 diabetes reported by the University of Alberta in Canada. A nationwide clinical trial funded by the NIH and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation is currently trying to replicate the Canadian advance.

References and Sources: Medline, Pubmed, National Institutes of Health

last update: December 2008

This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this material to diagnose or treat a health condition or disease without consulting with your healthcare provider.
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