This, coupled with significant advances in drug discovery technologies is rekindling interest in the immense potential of therapeutic diabetes drugs, resulting in a multiplicity of pharmaceutical drug targets.
"Toxic side effects of conventional oral hypoglycemic drugs is driving the need for novel drugs with better safety, efficacy, and tolerability profile, which would have a different mechanism of action altogether," says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Sangeetha Prabakar. "The pharmaceutical sector is likely to witness further influx of drugs that could replicate the normal insulin activity thereby, enhancing the biosynthesis of insulin in a patient."
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The imminent commercialization of inhalable and oral insulin as well as insulin patches can replace insulin injections. Another trend in insulin therapies is the increased availability of insulin types that suit patient needs such as rec-human insulin, regular, lente, lispro, and 70/30, each with different action, peak activity, and duration.
The majority of insulin used is genetically engineered human insulin and is likely to replace all other forms of insulin in the future. These non-invasive delivery mechanisms are likely to enhance patient convenience and adherence to insulin therapy, which can lead to increased insulin market demands.
Advances in encapsulation technologies, bio-sensing devices, and insulin delivery methods are driving innovations in islet cell transplant and artificial pancreas. Moreover, the two therapies have a huge potential of offering a long-term cure for type-1 diabetes.
If commercialized successfully, the islet cell therapies will likely replace whole pancreas transplants in the future. In this therapy, insulin-producing islet cells are injected into the liver through a simple non-surgical procedure. In the future patients might prefer islet cell therapies to whole organ transplant considering the risks of adverse immune reactions due to foreign tissue rejection, requiring a lifetime of immunosuppressive treatment.
Another recent development has been the artificial pancreas, which consists of a glucose sensor, insulin pump, and computer software that connects the two to enable automated monitoring, dose adjustments, and insulin infusion without patient intervention.
Major device manufacturers and technology companies and institutions around the world have already received considerable amounts of funding for expediting the development, testing, and commercialization of such devices. The application of nanotechnology in future glucose sensing devices, artificial pancreas research, and gene delivery techniques can significantly boost further developments in this sector.
However, huge costs, apprehensions regarding new drug prescription, and self-medication pose significant challenges. Low-income groups in developing countries, unable to afford expensive anti-diabetic drugs, look for low-priced and easily available alternative and complementary medicines. This brings down the market demand for existing as well as incoming drugs. Hence, drug manufactures can focus on uniform availability of beneficial drugs by reducing the selling price.
As medical practitioners require periodic updates about new medications, their contraindications, costs, and efficacies, the pharmaceutical industry will benefit by keeping physicians informed.
"It is crucial to increase patient awareness of the disease complications and the importance of continuous and regular monitoring of the disease," notes Prabakar. "Educators also need to focus on the advances in drug discovery and delivery technologies, importance of self-management goals, monitoring devices, and the availability and usage of user-friendly as well as home-based testing tools, by providing instruction and support through regular awareness campaigns."
Emerging Therapies for Diabetes is part of the Technical Insights - Healthcare vertical subscription service. The study examines pharmacotherapy, insulin therapy, pancreas transplant, islet cell transplant, artificial pancreas, and gene therapy. Interviews are available to the press.
Technical Insights is an international technology analysis business that produces a variety of technical news alerts, newsletters, and research services.
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