Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Leveraging New Technologies for Better Diabetes Care


Kajal Bains                                                          David Trasoff, Ph.D.
Corporate Communications Associate            Director of Communications
Epinex Diagnostics, Incorporated                  
Epinex Diagnostics, Incorporated


Diabetes is widely considered to be the major health crisis facing the world today. It has become critical to address the diabetes epidemic on multiple fronts, and to take advantage of new technologies that are becoming available.

According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), 415 million people worldwide currently have diabetes and 642 million people are predicted to develop the disease by 2040. Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Unmanaged diabetes leads to a progressive accumulation of complications and chronic conditions including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, amputation of extremities due to circulation problems, and nerve disorders. There are three types of diabetes: Type 1, an autoimmune disease; Type 2, associated with lack of exercise, poor diet, obesity, and ageing; and gestational diabetes, which affects pregnant women. Approximately 90-95 percent of all people suffering from diabetes have Type 2 diabetes.

The standard protocol for diabetes monitoring and management has been a combination of multiple daily blood sugar tests and a twice-a-year test for HbA1c. Blood sugar testing is painful and expensive, and demands a high level of compliance to be useful. The required interval between HbA1c tests means that people with diabetes have to wait a full six months before they can get an updated analysis of their condition.

The crucial need to develop alternate diabetes monitoring systems has now been recognized by the highest level of the scientific and medical communities. The FDA recently sponsored a public workshop to discuss the future of diabetes management. It was geared specifically towards discussing measures of diabetes outcome beyond HbA1c, with the aim supporting the development of “novel therapies that directly address the needs” of diabetics.

The good news is that, over a decade of research has suggested that glycated albumin can be used as an effective monthly marker for diabetes management. Because albumin naturally replaces itself in the body every 30 days, true diabetic status is reflected in an accurate measurement of the damage to albumin caused by diabetes. Epinex is the only company that has developed and patented a monthly test for glycated albumin, the G1A Rapid Diabetes Monitoring Index Test. The goal is to provide this monthly test to healthcare professionals and consumers alike.

Another area of new technology with the potential to positively affect patient outcomes in diabetes care has been labeled “digital health.” Mobile device apps and online portals can expand the number of people who receive diabetes care and optimize how they prevent and treat their diabetes. This form of diabetes care can cater to millennials who are accustomed to using technology to address their needs and to underserved communities that cannot easily access doctor’s visits.

For instance, San Francisco-based digital health company Omada Health has initiated a program to help prevent Type 2 diabetes in low-income communities by improving how people eat and exercise. The company already provides an online program to help people with pre diabetes, but is now trying to spark lifestyle changes through a similar program designed specifically for people with pre diabetes in underserved communities. Since people in these communities cannot always afford year-round medical services, Omada hopes to implement technology they already use to help them regularly monitor their health.

Similarly, Epinex has pioneered “Am I Diabetic?” an app for mobile devices that provides information and tools about diabetes risk and management. We hope that our digital platform, in conjunction with the G1A test, will become a part of a new arsenal with the potential to revolutionize diabetes management to a more diverse population.

Kajal Bains is a fourth year Biological Sciences student at University of California, Irvine. She is the Corporate Communications Intern for Epinex Diagnostics, Inc. and has worked with Edwards Lifesciences in the past. After graduating this spring, she hopes to pursue a career in the biotechnology and medical device industries and pursue an MBA. She can be reached at kajal@epinex.com

David Trasoff, Ph.D., has degrees from the University of Rochester (B.A., Biology, Honors), Stanford University (M.A., Molecular Biology), and the University of California, Santa Barbara (Ph.D., Humanities). David has held teaching and research positions at several universities as well as operating businesses in graphic design, audio production, and event management.

No comments:

Post a Comment