Lots of drug news coming out of the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference here in San Francisco last week. Among the presenters were Amylin, DexCom, Insulet (OmniPod), MannKind (developing inhalable insulin), and Biodel (developing fast-acting Viaject insulin).
The most intriguing news seems to come from Sirtris Pharmacueticals, a startup based in Cambridge, MA, that's testing a new diabetes drug made from red wine. No kidding! Hey, if lizard spit can turn out to be effective, Cabernet may very well turn out to be the next big thing in treating diabetes. Seriously.
Sirtris is a formulation of resveratrol, a substance found in red wine, which is showing good results in helping Type 2s lower their blood sugar in early stage clinical trials. They're also calling it an "anti-aging drug" because it is thought to mimic the life-prolonging effects of a very low-calorie diet. And so far, it has proved quite safe.
One never knows for sure until it hits the market, but this could give Avandia and Actos a run for their money, if it can help drop A1c levels without all the drawbacks: weight gain, edema, and potentially much more harmful side effects.
Speaking of side effects, what is up with Januvia? The posts here at DiabetesMine on that drug continue to attract dozens upon dozens of comments about muscle pain, nausea, headaches, constipation, and even risk of heart damage -- crazy for a drug that was marketed as side-effect free!
Since Diabetic Investor David Kliff was in town for the conference, I asked him about it.
"Januvia is an accident an accident waiting to happen," he said. Yikes!
He's heard of side effects ranging from nightmares to cancer, but notes that if Januvia hits rock bottom, "it could be the worst thing to happen to diabetes ever." This is because so many patients are already scared off oral drugs by the Avandia flap, so another like it would do irreparable damage to the treatment regimen doctors are already struggling to instill in Type 2 patients. Ugh!