REDONDO BEACH, CA / ACCESSWIRE / August 31, 2015 / Diabetes is a large and growing problem in the U.S. and around the world. In the U.S., there are an estimated 21 million diagnosed cases, and an additional eight million undiagnosed cases, of diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The International Diabetes Foundation currently projects approximately 387 million people worldwide are suffering from the disease, with that figure expected to jump to nearly 600 million by 2035 - just 20 years from now.
While the disease cannot be cured, there are plenty of treatment options that are covered by public healthcare. The IDF estimates that one in nine dollars spent on healthcare worldwide goes towards the treatment of diabetes. That figure is poised to increase significantly over the coming years as diagnostics improve - it's estimated that only about half of those suffering from diabetes are diagnosed with the disease - and the patient population expands.
Diabetes is a metabolic disease characterized by high blood sugar levels over a prolonged period of time. While the cause of Type 1 diabetes is unknown, Type 2 diabetes occurs when a person acquires insulin resistance due to unhealthy eating and a lack of exercise. The disease has serious long-term complications, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, chronic kidney failure, foot ulcers, eye damage, and many others.
Insulin is a hormone that regulates the uptake of glucose from the blood into the liver, muscle, fat tissue, and other cells throughout the body. In the case of insulin resistance, glucose is not absorbed properly into the body's cells and isn't stored properly in the liver or muscles. The net effect is high levels of blood glucose - since it's not being converted, which can result in poor protein synthesis, and potentially other metabolic issues like acidosis in extreme cases.
The status quo for diabetes treatment is maintaining normal blood sugar levels without causing low blood sugar, as well as boosting insulin levels. In 1922, the first diabetic patient was injected with insulin, and in the early 1950s, the first synthetic insulin injections were developed and given to diabetic patients in order to help control their conditions. The practice has since become the most common treatment for diabetes management.
Eli Lilly & Co. (NYSE:LLY) and Genentech - now owned by Roche Holdings Ltd. (OTC:RHHBY) - were the first two companies to begin selling injectable insulin in the 1970s. Since then, a number of companies have entered the market and commoditized the substance, although insulin injections still cost around $400 per month. These costs could come down - as with most generic drugs - but likely on a much smaller scale than pharmaceuticals.
Most of the innovation occurring within the diabetes space is aimed at making insulin injections easier, rather than trying to cure diabetes or eliminate insulin requirements altogether. For instance, Oramed Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ORMP) is developing an ingestible insulin capsule that's in Phase II clinical trials, while MannKind Corporation's (NASDAQ:MNKD) Afrezza is an inhalable form of insulin that avoids shots and pills.
Many other companies are working on treating the complications of diabetes, including conditions like diabetic neuropathy or foot ulcers that can lead to amputations. For instance, NephroGenex (NRX) recently raised $7.5 million to complete the Phase III clinical trial of Pyridorin - a drug developed to treat diabetic neuropathy. The drug reportedly works by blocking the formation of chemical compounds that contribute to kidney damage.
Cell MedX Corp. (CMXC) is taking a radically different approach to diabetes treatment that could create an entire new category in the space. Last year, the company acquired the rights to a proprietary microcurrent technology – called eBalance – that is being developed to improve key diabetic metabolic markers and reduce the need for insulin, while improving the long-term prognosis for the growing number afflicted with the condition.
The eBalance device is expected to be an easy-to-use, iPad-sized homecare device that may only require short 10 to 20 minute treatments a few times per week. Management believes that the proposed approach utilizing a simple, patient-friendly, non-invasive, and pain-free technology will make it appealing to diabetics that have been suffering through ongoing and sometimes painful treatments for years.
Co-founder Jean Arnett has become patient zero for the technology, having lived with Type 1 diabetes for over 40 years. Using eBalance, she reported A1C levels that fell from 10.7 to 7.5, a decrease of more than 50% in her 24 hour basal rate insulin, and short term insulin sensitivity that increased 60%, as well as ancillary benefits, including lower blood pressure, improved kidney function, abatement of all diabetic neuropathy, and faster-healing diabetic wounds. Moreover, these benefits were realized without any side effects.
As a result of Ms. Arnett's personal success, the company started recruiting 30 Type 1 and 2 diabetic patients for a Phase II-A clinical trial to be conducted in Orange County, California this year. Over the upcoming months, the company's medical team will carefully study clinical endpoints, including the reduction of HbA1C levels independent of other factors. The trials will also take a look at how metabolic changes and pathways lead to improved glycemic control and what settings are optimal for the technology. If the results warrant, the Company aims to move ahead with additional trials aimed at the development of a commercial device as part of their overall business strategy.
Diabetes is a massive and growing problem at a global scale, while few companies are working on breakthrough changes to contain costs. Unlike many other investment opportunities in the space, Cell MedX is working to develop a potentially low-cost technology that could dramatically improve patient outcomes. The win-win nature of its innovative solution could take a big slice of a multi-billion dollar market that's in desperate need of safe and efficacious treatments.
For more information, visit the company's website at www.cellmedx.com.
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SOURCE: Emerging Growth LLC