7 million Americans have diabetes but don’t know it, study finds
Could a 'reeducated' immune system and other innovative medicines be the key to a cure?

Millions of Americans are unaware that their health and lives are at serious risk, according to a new report by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association of America (PhRMA).

“Five thousand people are diagnosed with diabetes every day in this country, and one in three American adults have pre-diabetes right now,” said PhRMA President and CEO John J. Castellani. Most disturbing: according to Centers for Disease Control findings cited by PhRMA, one quarter of all Americans with diabetes – about seven million people – don’t even know they have it.

Diabetes infographic

However, new drugs and treatments “could result in a way to prevent diabetes altogether,” according to researcher and former American Diabetes Association official Matthias Von Herrath. He and other researchers are working on ways to “reeducate” the immune system so it does not attack helpful, insulin-producing cells. This innovative approach offers exciting hope for the millions of Americans fighting diabetes every day of their lives.

Von Herrath’s work is part of the more than 180 innovative new medicines in development to attack diabetes, according to a PhRMA “Medicines in Development” report released in February of this year.

Promising examples include:

  • A medicine that improves glucose-dependent insulin secretion for type 2 diabetes.
  • A medicine designed to inhibit an enzyme linked to diabetic nerve disorders.
  • A treatment designed to stimulate and enhance the regeneration of insulin-producing cells for type 1 diabetes.

“Dedicated researchers in the biopharmaceutical sector, working hand-in-hand with others in the medical innovation ecosystem, are striving to meet the global challenge of diabetes by developing new treatment options,” said Castellani. “The medicines in development today offer great hope that together we can ease the tremendous burden of diabetes on patients, public health and economies around the world.”

“No one can do it alone,” Von Herrath added. “Collaboration is key.”

Since 2000, PhRMA member companies have invested nearly $600 billion in the search for diabetes treatments and cures, including nearly $50 billion in 2012 alone.

To learn more about the fight against diabetes, please go to www.fromhopetocures.org.