Approved last month by the Food and Drug Administration, a new insulin-based drug for diabetes might prove more effective in treating the condition, as compared to traditional medicines.
Diabetes refer to a condition where the blood glucose concentration rises above the optimal levels. It impairs the ability to process the glucose in blood, leading to variations in the blood composition. In U.S. alone, almost 30.2 million people, above the age of 18, have diabetes. This roughly accounts for 27.9 to 32.7% of the entire population.
There are two major types of the disease:
- Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, occurs when the body fails to produce Insulin – a hormone that maintains the glucose levels in the body. Patients with type 1 diabetes are ‘insulin-dependent’ and hence need to take it artificially, everyday.
- Type 2 diabetes affects the way the body utilizes Insulin. Even though, the body is capable of producing the hormone, the cells fail to respond to it effectively. It’s the most common type of Diabetes according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
The FDA recently approved a new drug, known as Fiasp, that proved more effective in treating the condition as compared to existing medicines. The breakthrough product “brings researchers a step closer to developing an “artificial pancreas” that will provide fast-acting insulin in proper amounts at just the right time for those with diabetes.”
Developed by Novo Nordisk, Fiasp is not only effective but also efficient. It takes only 2.5 minutes for it to start working, eventually ‘hitting full force within 10 minutes’. Present day insulin supplements take almost twice or thrice the time for similar results. The drug can even be consumed almost immediately after the patient eats his food.
The drug was tested on two children, Paige and Tanner Szczesek from Cheektowaga, suffering from type 1 diabetes. “Thanks to a new drug developed with an assist in Western New York, they have more of a chance.”
Fiasp had been previously approved by FDA for adult consumption, however, had to be used on children to make sure it didn’t have any harmful side effects. The clinical trial included over 700 children, from 17 countries, also including 5 between the ages of 13 and 17, who were formerly patients at the ‘diabetes centers at UBMD Pediatrics and next door at Oishei Children’s Hospital on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.’
According to Dr. Kathleen E. Bethin, ‘a clinical professor in the Department of Pediatrics in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical centers, “This was a big commitment for the families. The kids were in the study for almost a year. There were a lot of extra blood draws and more blood sugar checks than are typically required.”
Dr. Lucy D. Mastrandrea, “chief of the Division of Endocrinology/Diabetes at UBMD Pediatrics and medical director for the Oishei Children’s Hospital Diabetes Center”, said, “The goal in the diabetes field is to develop insulin analogs that behave more like natural insulin, which is rapid on, rapid off, meaning it’s quickly released, then quickly dissipates.”
She further continued, “Part of the reason this drug was developed was to have a better timeline of action that’s closer to natural insulin.”