Sunday, July 17, 2011

Helping Diabetics

MAS Epsilon located in Charlottesville Virginia, just announced the availability of the first FDA-accepted Type 1 Diabetes Metabolic Simulator (T1DMS) to be used as a substitute for animal trials in the pre-clinical testing of control strategies for Type 1 Diabetes. T1DMS is designed to simulate early-phase clinical studies with an in-silico population and provide a safe, interactive modeling and learning environment for the training and education of investigators, healthcare providers, patients, and families.

In-silico testing can produce credible pre-clinical results from testing interventions and management strategies at a fraction of the time and cost of current pre-clinical animal testing methods. The cost and time savings of metabolic simulation modeling is estimated in the millions of dollars and saving years of development when compared to current pre-clinical animal testing methods.

As Kurt Wassenaar, MAS Epsilon CEO, stated, “We believe that in-silico modeling can be a significant factor in accelerated development of new products for diabetes care, as well as central to the development of the artificial pancreas.”

Currently, over 50 academic and 10 industrial sites are using the test version of the simulator worldwide toward development of an artificial pancreas. Additionally, over 100 pharmaceutical and diabetes device companies are active in developing novel and more effective medications for diabetes and related conditions.

In early 2012, there are plans to have a web-based study on the testing and training services involved in the R&D of control algorithms, pumps, sensors, and novel insulin formulations for the Artificial Pancreas Project sponsored by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

In order to better understand how to improve diabetic care, the University of Virginia Health System received a $300,000 grant to study the “Call to Health” model which uses text messages, stress reduction, and other techniques to help African-American women manage Type 2 diabetes.

The University was one of five organizations to receive two-year grants from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation as part of the foundation’s $100 million effort to improve the health of Americans with Type 2 diabetes especially among African-American women who more frequently suffer from diabetes.

The “Call to Health” model focuses on empowering patients to control and manage their diabetes. Patients will design their own text messages which may include reminders to take their medication or to exercise. Healthcare providers from UVA will send weekly text messages designed to spark discussion on how to better manage diabetes

Patients will choose a “buddy” who may or may not have diabetes to help develop goals to improve their health by supporting them with phone calls and going with them to group medical visits

Researchers will also examine whether women more effectively manage their diabetes when they participate in all three main elements of the model such as text messages, group medical appointments, and the buddy program as compared with just receiving text messages.

During the two year study, UVA researchers will partner with the Charlottesville-Albermarle Community Obesity Task Force to compare the “Call to Health” model with the standard diabetes treatment provided at the university’s Medical Associates Clinic.