Science / Type 2 Diabetes

As highlighted by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) in The IDF Diabetes Atlas (6th Edition), diabetes is a significant and growing problem, and the costs to society are high and escalating. In particular, the IDF report noted that the number of people with type 2 diabetes is increasing in every country. Only the class of drugs referred to as insulin sensitizers treat the root causes of type 2 diabetes – insulin resistance and pancreatic beta cell dysfunction. Thus, there is a critical unmet need for new therapeutic agents that improve insulin sensitivity.

Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder affecting the ways in which the body uses various nutrients for growth and energy. The root cause of this disorder is insulin resistance, which is a result of the body’s inability to efficiently and effectively convert glucose – a simple sugar made from the food you eat – to energy. Insulin, a hormone produced by the beta cells in the pancreas, aids in the transfer of glucose into the bloodstream, where it is used or metabolized by cells for growth and energy. Diabetes results when changes in metabolism alter both the ability of insulin to work on its target tissues and the ability of the beta cells to make and secrete insulin. A chronic condition, diabetes’ extended toll is substantial and can include blindness, kidney failure, amputation, heart disease, and increased risk of various cancers, dementia, hearing loss, and osteoporosis.

Globally, as many as 366 million people may also be affected, and this figure is estimated to increase to a staggering 552 million people in 2030. Of particular concern, the IDF estimates that 183 million people (50%) with diabetes are undiagnosed. In the U.S., nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes. 25.8 million children and adults in the United States – 8.3% of the population – have diabetes and of these, seven million are undiagnosed. There are an additional 79 million people in the U.S. with pre-diabetes.

Diabetes drives stunning medical costs. Globally, diabetes is estimated to have caused at least $465 billion dollars in healthcare expenditures in 2011; 11% of total healthcare expenditures in adults (20-79 years). The U.S. national economic burden of pre-diabetes and diabetes reached $245 billion as of 2011. The extended toll of the diabetes is substantial and can include blindness; kidney failure; amputation; heart disease; and increased risk of various cancers, dementia, hearing loss, and osteoporosis.

Safe and effective anti-diabetic medicines are needed more than ever – especially insulin sensitizers. While there are many type 2 diabetes therapies being marketed or in development, most of these agents treat only the symptoms of diabetes and patients prescribed such therapeutics eventually will need to go on insulin therapy in order to effectively manage their glucose levels. MSDC is the only company developing insulin-sensitizing agents to treat the root causes of type 2 diabetes – insulin resistance and pancreatic beta cell dysfunction – based on the modulation of a novel mitochondrial molecular target that controls the important cellular functions integral to the pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes.