Type 2 Diabetes Research
The following type 2 diabetes research focuses on new approaches to prevent and treat type 2 diabetes.
The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) DPP was a major research study that found after only three years that diet and exercise sharply reduce the likelihood that a person with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) would develop diabetes. The oral diabetes drug Metformin (glucophage) also reduced the risk less dramatically. The results of the study were published in 2002.
Controlling Risk Factors Several studies have shown that diabetes and its complications can be prevented through the improved control of obesity, blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and blood lipid levels.
Genetic FactorsSeveral research studies are investigating the genetic factors that influence the development of:
- Type 2 diabetes and its complications.
- Obesity, which is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
- The high incidence of type 2 diabetes in minority populations.
Several genes that increase a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes and its complications have been identified. The identification of these genes should help researchers:
- Predict who will develop type 2 diabetes and its complications.
- Prevent the disease and its complications.
- Personalize individual treatments.
New medications Daily injections of the drug anakinra (Kineret), which is used to treat juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, may help people with type 2 diabetes manage their blood sugar levels. Studies have shown that anakinra improves glucose regulation and insulin production in people with type 2 diabetes.
Improving insulin delivery systems New insulin delivery systems being researched include:
- Buccal (under-the-tongue) insulin
- Oral insulin
- Transdermal insulin (through the skin using a patch)
Restoring blood flow Peripheral vascular disease reduces circulation in a person's extremities. Researchers are developing a laser technique that uses ultraviolet energy to restore blood flow to blocked blood vessels. If caught in time, improved blood flow may prevent the need for amputation.
Smoking and type 2 diabetesA comparison of previous studies indicates that smokers may have a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than nonsmokers. Compared to nonsmokers, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes is:
- 44% greater for smokers in general
- 61% greater for people who smoke 20 or more cigarettes each day
- 29% greater for people who smoke less than 20 cigarettes each day
- 23% greater for former smokers
In all of the studies, people started smoking cigarettes before they developed type 2 diabetes. The study results do not show that cigarette smoking causes type 2 diabetes, because the results were not adjusted for other diabetes risk factors, such as diet, exercise, and obesity.