Diabetes is an increasingly common disease. Overall, approximately nine percent of all Americans have diabetes. Over the age of 65, the prevalence of diabetes is even higher, affecting as many as one-fourth of these adults.
“Diabetes is a disease that affects many organ systems over time. As a result, it’s important that patients adhere to their medications. This can be challenging, however, due to the side effects that many patients experience with their diabetes medications,” says Dr. Marie E. McDonnell, Director of the Diabetes Management Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Diabetes research at the Brigham is focused on helping physicians select existing diabetes therapies more precisely, based on patient characteristics, to improve outcomes and minimize side effects. A “bionic” pancreas, a device that continuously monitors a patient’s insulin levels and automatically delivers the appropriate level of insulin, is in development in several centers around the world. Other novel programs being studied in the diabetes research community include beta cell restoration and islet cell transplantation.