NIH recently announced a new strategic plan to guide diabetes-related research throughout the next decade. The plan, developed by a federal work group led by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), identifies research opportunities with the greatest potential to benefit the millions of Americans who are living with or at risk for diabetes and its complications.
“By setting priorities and identifying the most compelling research opportunities, the strategic plan will guide NIH, other federal agencies and the investigative community in efforts to improve diabetes treatments and identify ways to keep more people healthy,” Griffin P. Rodgers, MD, NIDDK director, stated in a press release.
The plan, Advances and Emerging Opportunities in Diabetes Research: A Strategic Planning Report of the Diabetes Mellitus Interagency Coordinating Committee, focuses on 10 areas of diabetes research with the most promise. The goal is to accelerate discovery on several fronts, including:
- the relationship between obesity and type 2 diabetes and how both conditions may be affected by genetics and environment;
- the autoimmune mechanisms at work in type 1 diabetes;
- the biology of beta cells, which release insulin in the pancreas;
- development of artificial pancreas technologies to improve management of blood sugar levels;
- prevention of complications of diabetes that affect the heart, eyes, kidneys, nervous system and other organs; and
- reduction of the impact of diabetes on groups disproportionately affected by the disease, including the elderly and racial and ethnic minorities.
With this plan, NIH will continue to emphasize clinical research in humans, which already has led to highly effective methods for managing diabetes and preventing complications, according to Rodgers.