Although the life-saving discovery of insulin happened over 90 years ago, the global diabetes epidemic has grown to affect over 382 million people. Insulin provides an incredibly valuable treatment, but diabetics need a cure. A recent article by our President and CEO, John Lechleiter, explains why the complexity of diabetes has made finding such a cure so difficult. In fact, the very nature of diabetes challenges researchers.
While increasing diabetes awareness greatly aids prevention, a range of factors may increase patient susceptibility to this disease. These divergent effects surface worldwide, from the heavy toll diabetes takes on minority groups in the U.S. to the sudden swell of diabetes in China and India. Researchers must explore these numerous risk factors more deeply in order to figure out why diabetes has disparate effects on different nations, ethnicities, and socioeconomic groups.
With the global diabetes total expected to rise to nearly 600 million people by 2035, we need diabetes breakthroughs now more than ever. Patients around the world carry this costly burden daily and more than 5 million people died from this epidemic last year alone. Increased R&D remains critical to putting together the clues of this complex puzzle so researchers can determine why diabetes manifests itself and how to cure it.
New, groundbreaking treatments and cures would change millions of lives today and millions more in the future. Just as the discovery of insulin in 1922 transformed diabetes from a death sentence to a livable disease, increased research and development today can help us transform diabetes from a lifelong burden to a curable disease. We remain firmly committed to our legacy of diabetes R&D so all patients may someday have the cure they deserve.