Today kicks off the American Diabetes Association's 2009 annual conference, this year in balmy New Orleans. I won't be responding to emails today, because I'm underway!
It's actually a nostalgic day for me, because my decision to attend the ADA conference taking place in San Diego four years ago was a milestone — being there amongst the diabetes A-list and seeing all the reams of information, excitement and fanfare around new treatments and products changed my life forever; I wanted to be part of it. On top of that, I'm proud to say I'm pretty darn sure I was the first person ever to blog this event. This year, among the myriad doctor-glitterati and medical journalists, there'll be a number of us D-bloggers scampering about, including:
Long-time web writer David Mendosa
David & Elizabeth Edelman of Diabetes Daily
Manny Hernandez of TuDiabetes
Anita Manning, former USA Today senior medical reporter, who for the second year in a row will write the "official" ADA blog here. According to the powers that be, she'll "sort through the nearly 2,000 research papers and 135 lectures to bring you the news you need to know about diabetes care." (yow - I'm glad I don't have to attempt such a feat — as usual, I'll be bringing you info on insulin delivery systems, 'life-changers' and whatever else happens to strike my personal fancy ;) )
And also Christian Stokes, the ADA's new National Youth Advocate, who'll be sharing his experiences from the lecture halls and the exhibit floor "through the eyes of an 18-year-old with type 1" via Facebook. I'm itching to see how he'll react to it all.
Meanwhile, the ADA's gotten really social-media-savvy on us and has even set up a Twitter feed and is using its separate Facebook page to offer news clips and updates about the meeting's highlights, where:
"More than 13,000 top scientists, physicians and other healthcare professionals from around the world will convene... to share cutting-edge research, treatments recommendations, and advances toward a cure for diabetes."
Now I've been to this event enough times to know that the Expo (which you're not allowed to photograph) is phenomenal: a colorful, buzzing array of flashy booths, with oversized video screens, blaring music, packets of info on drugs and devices printed on top-quality color stock, snacks and giveaways... but not much that brings to mind a cure. It's all about the products, like it or not— while the sessions are generally such deep science that they're largely impenetrable for anyone who hasn't been to medical school. (Just "keepin' it real," as Randy likes to say.)
So what's the big news this year? The best preview I've found so far comes from Kelly's team, who knows this industry better than just about anybody, I'd wager:
"The ADA has long been the most exciting, data-rich, and agenda-setting event in the world of diabetes, and this year is no exception. Last year statisticians and researchers scrambled to ensure that data from three large studies - ACCORD, ADVANCE, and the VADT - would be compiled and presented at the conference. The results of the studies left many scratching their heads, and the merits of intensive glucose control in established type 2 diabetes remains an issue of controversy a full year later. The studies will continue to be featured prominently at this year's meeting...
"Two important large clinical trials to be presented at this year's ADA are RECORD, which is a cardiovascular safety study featuring rosiglitizone (GSK's Avandia) and BARI-2D, a study that looks at whether initial treatment with angioplasty or bypass surgery is better than initial treatment with a medical program for type 2 patients and which compares two approaches to controlling blood glucose: insulin stimulating and insulin sensitizing medications."
Kelly also mentions interesting debates in the field, especially one about possibly using people's A1c results as a diagnostic tool (right now they diagnose people based on high fasting glucose numbers, not A1c).
And on the drug front, we should be looking out for: new safety and tolerability data on Eli Lilly's once weekly GLP-1 analog, as well as Amylin's Byetta (currently facing a class-action lawsuit, btw), a new "next-generation insulin sensitizer" called Intekrin, and a slew of others.
On the device side, I hear there'll be a whole bunch of new data presented on continuous glucose monitoring (the JDRF's latest study in Type 1s), insulin pump use and incremental steps towards a closed-loop system.
Whew! I daresay I won't get around to covering all that, unless of course my patience and shoes hold out, and the topic really strikes my fancy. Meet ya here next week to find out...