Plant Hallucinogen Holds Hope for Diabetes Treatment was reported by Emily Willingham for Scientific American, 21 December 2018.  A potent molecular cocktail containing a compound from ayahuasca spurs rapid growth of insulin-producing cells – oooh, interesting!

For centuries, some indigenous groups in South America have relied on a brew made from the parts of a local vine and a shrub. The effects of this drink, called ayahuasca, would begin with severe vomiting and diarrhea, but the real reason for drinking the tea was the hallucinating that followed. These visions were thought to uncover the secrets of the drinker’s poor health and point the way to a cure.

Modern techniques have revealed that one of the compounds underlying these mystic experiences is the psychoactive drug harmine. What these first users of ayahuasca couldn’t have known was that, one day, this ingredient in their enlightening brew would be positioned as a key to treating diabetes.

Such a cure is a long way off, but researchers took another step toward it when they combined naturally occurring harmine with a compound synthesized from scratch in a lab. Together, the pair can coax the insulin-producing pancreatic cells, called beta cells, into replicating at the fastest rates ever reported, according to findings published December 20 in Cell Metabolism.

Read more: Plant Hallucinogen Holds Hope for Diabetes Treatment


MannKind is Fixing Foundations to Build a Big Future was reported by Martin Hensel on InsulinNation.com, 31 January 2019. 

According to an interview with Michael Castagna, PharmD who is CEO of MannKind Corporation, “MannKind was always running quarter to quarter when I joined in 2016.  We had no pipeline, very little revenue, and significant expenses. We have been able to reduce a large amount of debt over the past 24 months and are fully funded for 2019.  We regained full control of Afrezza globally and have been focused on fixing the foundations of the company while building out our pipeline and expanding licensing rights for Afrezza outside the United States.”

“We did a head to head clinical study, published in September 2018 in Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics,  comparing Afrezza to NovoLog (insulin aspart) using Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM). The results were very positive.

  • Time-in-range (TIR) improved by 2 hours per day
  • Time spent in hypoglycemia (BG<60mg/dL and <50mg/dL)) was significantly reduced
  • A significant decrease in mealtime excursions at breakfast and lunch

MannKind announced a direct to consumer purchase option which will allow people with diabetes to directly purchase Afrezza from MannKind at a significantly discounted price.  This will benefit uninsured, underinsured as well as patients in high deductible health plans who are getting impacted by the cash price of insulin. We launched a cash pay program to address the insulin price challenges consumers face.  Among our insured patients who are on Afrezza, the average copay is between $35 to $45 per month.  

“We are moving our Bluetooth connected device forward in development in 2019 so we can become part of the connected care world. (THIS IS COOL!!! my emphasis!)

Read more: MannKind is Fixing Foundations to Build a Big Future

 


Senseonics Eversense CGM Sensor Receives Indication for MRI, as announced by Senseonics, 30 January 2019. According to the release, “Now patients who need to have an MRI* do not need to remove the Eversense Sensor.”

“Based on our testing, we have demonstrated that it is safe for patients to leave the Eversense Sensor in place, even when they need to have an MRI,” said Tim Goodnow, President and CEO of Senseonics. “Now patients using Eversense CGM do not need to worry about an emergency MRI or delay getting a scheduled MRI based on their glucose sensor. All other CGMs currently on the market are required to be removed before an MRI scan, according to their FDA indications. This is a first for the CGM category.”

Read more: Senseonics Eversense CGM Sensor Receives Indication for MRI


Can the Sun Protect Against Diabetes? Brazilian women with lower vitamin D levels were 30% more likely to have high blood glucose, according to a report by Kristen Monaco of MedPageToday.com, 31 January 2019.

It has been postulated that vitamin D plays a role in pancreatic beta cell function, improving the insulin response to an increase in the blood glucose level,” Tânia Valladares, MSc, of the University of Sao Paulo School of Public Health in Brazil, and colleagues wrote in Menopause: The Journal of The North American Menopause Society. “Those data underscore a potential benefit of a higher 25(OH)D level in individuals who still have a minimal beta cell population, improving the insulin response and perhaps preventing the progression of insulin dependence.

Read more: Can the Sun Protect Against Diabetes?

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