One in every ten people in the US has diabetes, which means more than 37 million are afflicted by this chronic disease according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Out of this saddening figure, 90-95% suffer from type 2 diabetes.
What is even more grievous is the fact that more and more children and teenagers are also developing type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is a major cause of blindness, stroke, heart attacks, kidney failure, and lower limb amputation.
However, the six-year-long endeavor of GE Research, along with Yale School of Medicine, Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, UCLA Samueli School of Engineering, and Albany Medical College, has come up with a novel treatment for type 2 diabetes without the use of drugs. Their work has finally borne fruit.
Through the use of a special type of ultrasound called peripheral focused ultrasound stimulation (pFUS), the team succeeded in stimulating specific neural pathways within organs that are associated with the disease in pre-clinical models. The team’s findings were reported in Nature Biomedical Engineering.
“We have shown that ultrasound can be used to prevent or reverse diabetes in these preclinical studies,” said Christopher Puleo, a biomedical engineer at GE.
Now, they are engaged in a clinical feasibility study that will fulfill their aspiration for a long-lasting treatment for people with type 2 diabetes.
“If our ongoing clinical trials confirm the promise of the preclinical studies reported in this paper, and ultrasound can be used to lower both insulin and glucose levels, ultrasound neuromodulation would represent an exciting and entirely new addition to the current treatment options for our patients,” said Dr. Raimund Herzog, Assistant Professor in Endocrinology at YSM.
Once the pFUS treatment makes it through the trials, diabetic patients will no longer have to monitor and manage their condition with blood sugar tests, drug treatments, and insulin injections. They will even have the hope of getting the chronic disease reversed fully.
Of course, this treatment may still be a long way off for many people with diabetes. But it’s a hopeful reminder of all the researchers who are working to make diabetes easier to live with and manage and how far we’ve come. Thank you, science!Whizzco