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
- 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.