Are there any new approaches in the treatment of diabetes mellitus?
Hertzel Gerstein: The wonderful thing about diabetes is that there are new approaches every year or two. And there are new approaches to find, because there are new drugs that become available to treat diabetes, and these drugs work by novel, new mechanisms. Also, there are different ways to think about the management of type 2 diabetes. We now have drugs that target the kidneys, or the pancreas, or the stomach and affect gastric emptying, and some of the drugs affect the brain. So we have a whole spectrum of medications that can lower glucose levels in a variety of ways. Some of these drugs have cardioprotective effects as well, so that makes it extremely exciting.
There may also be new ways to manage type 2 diabetes. Traditionally people have added one drug, then another drug, and if the drugs failed, considered a different drug. Some of us – myself included, and others – are investigating approaches which are very different. We use very intensive therapy for short periods of time. I try to achieve a diabetes remission, see what happens when you stop medications; these are things that are being studied and they may in the future become novel approaches to managing diabetes.