2006: Diabetes Year in Review

First off, Happy Holidays, everyone!  Here we are smack in the middle of Hanukkah and I’m getting2006_diabetes_1 nostalgic already.  Was 2006 a big year for people with diabetes?  I’d say so, yes.  Although as a relative newbie (approaching my 4th anniversary of dx), I’m sure many of you have seen years that held at least as much promise for new treatments and potential cures, only to be “stuck in the realm of possibilities” for years to come.  Still, I made myself a nice list of what I thought rocked the (or at least my) Diabetes World this year.

Making Treatment History.

2006 was the year that both Inhaled Insulin and Continuous Glucose Monitoring hit the prime time:

Pfizer’s Exubera hit the market with a… well, thud, sort of.  That is, it was met with exhileration by the media, but the jury’s still out on long-term safety and patient reaction.

DexCom and Minimed actually shipped a fair volume of CGMS units, so that a number of us got a chance to try seeing “the whole movie” rather than a set of snapshots of our current blood glucose levels.  Early models are still cumbersome, so users had some very mixed reactions.  But the future looks bright


Byetta has to have been the first diabetes product to make BusinessWeek’s Hottest Products list (OK, that was the end of 2005, but still a roaring success this year).  Did you know they actually ran out of cartridges mid-year and had to open a new UK manufacturing facility in order to increase their capacity fourfold?

Patients are still lined up around the block to get ahold of Insulet’s award-winning new OmniPod tubeless insulin pump.  With a wireless handheld controller that could pass for a PDA , it’s looking like the harbinger of a new era of convenient and unobtrusive (or at least much less obtrusive) insulin delivery devices. 

Mainstream Eyeballs.

The New York Times essentially changed the landscape of diabetes media coverage/awareness with its hard-hitting four-part series and ongoing coverage. Now the likes of Forbes and the Washington Post run regular diabetes feature stories, which is new.  No need to hit people over the head with the urgency of this disease any more; its epidemic stature is clear.

As noted yesterday, diabetes has surpassed AIDS (!)

Stirring the Research Pot.

Denise Faustman vowed to move forward with her controversial research, betting her reputation on what many see as a longshot.  With newly refreshed funding from mogul Lee Iacocca, she plans to begin human trials in 2007. 

Faustman’s work didn’t look quite so far out this year, after researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) demonstrated the efficacy of a protocol to reverse of type 1 diabetes in diabetic mice — providing support to her much-critized theory.  (Imagine the raspberry she gave critics!)

And to round off the year, just a few days ago, another breakthrough with diabetic mice: diabetes may be a disease of the nervous system, and not simply an autoimmune disease, as traditionally assumed.  This could change and accelerate the path of research toward a cure!  (A very good year for diabetic mice, at the least.)

Bloopers and Outtakes

Expensive glucose test strips became HOT, HOT, HOT on the black market.  Really.  Did you read about the armed and dangerous test strip thieves?  Or about the counterfeit OneTouch test strips making the rounds this fall?

After a much hyped launch and highly promising research results, GlaxoSmithKline’s Avandia stumbled on side effects, ranging from weight gain to heart problems to bone fractures.  “(Rival) metformin… should remain the first choice for most newly diagnosed patients with Type 2 diabetes,” experts said.   

Here At Home.

I personally resolved to become an insulin pumper.  By mid-2007.  If it kills me.  (Are you listening, Insulet?)

DiabetesMine.com was named one of the three most influential healthcare blogs at the recent Healthcare Blogging Summit in Washington, D.C.  Honestly, I’m not sure what metric this is based on, but I’ve been grinning spontaneously for days.  (You all made my mom very proud)

I opened a store.

And did I mention that I wrote a book?!

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Note that this list in no way presumes to be comprehensive.  Why don’t you let me know what YOU all thought 2006 was good for :)


9 Responses

  1. Shannon
    Shannon December 19, 2006 at 7:30 am | | Reply

    Ha! At this point, I wish my son was a mouse.

    And congrats on the “Here At Home” news!!

  2. Scott K. Johnson
    Scott K. Johnson December 19, 2006 at 7:34 am | | Reply

    Hi Amy!

    I’ve babbled on before, but I’m going to do it again.

    I am constantly very impressed with all that you have done this year, and the things that you have coming.

    You are an inspiration for so many people, and such a useful resource.

    Posting every single day, sometimes more than once, is amazing it itself – but that’s only a small part of all that you’re doing!!

    I am very pleased to consider you a friend in the OC, and hope to one day have the opportunity to meet you in person. And get your autograph. :-)

    I think for the year 2006 the biggest thing in my opinion is the availability of CGMS systems. While the technology is still pretty young, it has already made such a big difference to so many people.

    Up until around 1980, people were testing glucose amounts in their urine, which could be hours old. Can you imagine trying to make insulin adjustments based on information that was hours old?!

    Then glucose meters hit the market. We were then able to get accurate information for what was actually happening right then!

    Sure, when the glucose meters were first launched, it took (what seemed like) a gallon of blood and two minutes for a result. Now we have meters that take a tiny sample size and produce a result in 5 seconds.

    I see the same thing happening with CGMS systems.

    I look forward to watching the technology mature.

  3. Scott
    Scott December 19, 2006 at 8:28 am | | Reply

    Hmmm, although I have a draft of my own 2006 Overview which I’m still reviewing and editing (its a while until December 31st!). Consistent with Time’s Person of the Year, I would vote that 2006 will be best known as the year of patients with diabetes. We need look no further than the Diabetes OC, the Diabetes Blog Network and the absolute proliferation we’ve seen of us during the past year to suggest that this is more than just a magazine’s lame way of avoiding any decision on a single person of the year!

  4. Kelsey
    Kelsey December 19, 2006 at 8:43 am | | Reply

    2007 is going to be an amazing year for you Amy… especially if you start pumping!

    I was just listening to a radio show which asked people to call in and tell them what made your year in 2006. For me, it was starting to pump. It’s simply amazing, and I’ve just scratched the surface of what this little machine can help me achieve.

    Congratulations on a great 2006!!

  5. shawn
    shawn December 19, 2006 at 4:55 pm | | Reply

    think twice about the omni pod
    i switched to the cozmo, and my numbers are much, much better, and the tubing is lesss of an issue than wearing the pods
    good luck, and thanks for all the info

  6. Felix Kasza
    Felix Kasza December 19, 2006 at 9:20 pm | | Reply

    A minor comment about Insulet — last time I checked, people were queuing up mainly because the company still has not managed to come to grips with the concepts of the “assembly line” and “mass production”. Assembling pods by hand? Shipping delays as bad as Minimed’s CGMS had mid-year?

    I wish those companies would learn to produce first, then open their useless pieholes.


  7. Matthew Holt
    Matthew Holt December 21, 2006 at 11:07 am | | Reply

    You know it’s very risky to be #1….all those back-stabbers lined up behind you, just waiting to take your place….

    Actually, seriously I think you’re #1 in a much bigger & more important category which is patient/consumer health blogs. And of course has a much bigger audience than all of us health care policy/business types.

    But congrats on a great year. I hope the book does really well. Matthew

  8. Roger
    Roger December 27, 2006 at 4:48 pm | | Reply

    Another interesting product introduced during 2006 is Zycose, which takes a slightly different medical approach. People interested in participating in their own treatment decisions might want to check it out. It’s a combination of benfotiamine, folic acid, and benzamine and it targets impaired cells within the inflammatory pathway and can potentially deal with secondary diseases as well. As you know, impaired cells can’t rid the body of toxic substances.

    Anyway, if you’re interested Google Zycose or Zylera the company that makes this prescription drug. Or ask your doctor.

    - Roger

  9. Kim
    Kim January 3, 2007 at 12:29 pm | | Reply

    Amy! Congratulations on the blogging summit honor! And, your book arrived a few days ago – time to read! More importantly, my hubby is reading it!

    A great overview of 2006, which will always be known as the year of hubby’s diagnosis!

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