Health Committee Overview

Recently the U.S. Government Subcommittee on Health convened to discuss the overall progress on diabetes in the United States. What follows are highlights from that subcommittee meeting.

Ann Albright, PhD, RD
Director, Division of Diabetes Translation

“Several research studies… have demonstrated that a structured lifestyle program, which results in a modest weight loss of 5 to 7 percent while encouraging a healthy diet and increasing physical activity, can reduce risk for type 2 diabetes by 58 percent in those at high risk for diabetes or who have pre-diabetes. Based on the findings of the Diabetes Prevention Program clinical trial and subsequent NIH-supported studies that have translated these research findings into real world settings, CDC and our partners are implementing the National Diabetes Prevention Program. This program focuses on delivering the proven intervention in-group settings for a cost of about $250 to $300 per person per year. The National Diabetes Prevention Program takes a four-pronged approach: training the workforce, a recognition program for quality assurance, funding sites to deliver the intervention, and health marketing to increase the program’s utilization.”

Judith E. Fradkin, M.D.
Director, Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolic Diseases



“One approach to combat the diabetes epidemic in the U.S. is to prevent the disease. The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) clinical trial showed that people with pre-diabetes-defined as having blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes–can dramatically reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes through lifestyle changes that achieve modest weight loss or through treatment with the drug metformin, although the metformin intervention was much less effective than the lifestyle intervention. The interventions worked in all ethnic and racial groups studied, in both men and women, and in women with a history of gestational diabetes. Research now shows that, after a 10-year period of following DPP participants, the interventions result in long-term benefits: people still had a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes and those who made lifestyle changes also had reduced cardiovascular risk despite taking fewer drugs to control their heart disease risk factors?”

Robert A. Goldstein, M.D. PH.D.
Senior Vice President, Scientific Affairs for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International

Promising research include(s):

  • Vaccine to Prevent Type 1 Diabetes Onset: Research toward the development of a vaccine to reverse the immune attack that causes diabetes holds great promise for type 1 diabetes patients. NIH- and JDRF-funded researchers have successfully cured and prevented type 1 diabetes in mice using a vaccine made of nanoparticles thousands of times smaller than the size of a cell, coated with proteins involved in immune cell communication. Thanks to NIH funds from the Special Diabetes Program, researchers have shown that these particles are safe for use in humans.

“The NIH, JDRF and privately-funded researchers are also working on promising vaccine therapies to preserve beta cell function in people newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.”

If you read articles on this site you know there are plenty of promising research statistics along with new discoveries that are providing hope and answers to diabetics. This subcommittee hearing was designed to bring top minds together to point out new avenues in which diabetic research can go and applaud those things that have been successful in facilitating change in the way we deal with the disease.

There will always be something to work on, but as demonstrated above there are also hurdles that have already been crossed.