Imagine if a once-a-week injection could stave off chronic diabetes complications such as nerve, kidney and eye damage? And what if this shot, not too different than giving yourself a dose of insulin, was something that you could have done in a routine doctor’s visit in precisely the same time they’re measuring blood pressure, cholesterol, and other in-office blood checks?
Wouldn’t you jump at the chance?
A small San Diego, CA-based biopharmaceutical firm named Cebix needs people with diabetes (PWDs) to think that way around nerve damage, whether it’s something you feel is affecting your life or not. Their thought: Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy (DPN) is sneaky and will come at PWDs without warning, so why not create proactive prevention a part of the routine checks in the doc’s office?
This could be coming down the pipeline, if early clinical trials of a new medication known as ERSATTA being developed by Cebix stands outside the way they’re hoping.
Everything relies upon the C-peptide hormone, which in non-pancreatically challenged people is produced together with insulin. However, for those of us living with type 1, it’s not made for whatever reason. And it’s removed from our manufactured human insulins. Researchers have been examining the mystery of C-peptide for a long time, and clinical trials of indigenous C-peptide have shown that the hormone has favorable effects relating to diabetes complications such as disease, and retinopathy.
So, now the drive is to create a commercial medication that could mimic those effects longer compared to 1-1/2-hour shelf life of pure C-peptide. And Cebix is not the sole firm convinced that C-peptide has enormous healing potential. The national advocacy organization Diabetes UK is really running a big campaign to support C-peptide research right now. Watch this:
The information is stacking up about how significant a C-peptide medication like exactly what Cebix is working on could be for us PWDs.
In 2012, Cebix declared positive outcomes from the early 12-week ERSATTA trials. The medication’s a long-acting form of C-peptide aimed at nerve function loss and a few other vascular D-complications.
Cebix is now recruiting PWDs for its second-phase research. They have just over 100 patients registered at this stage, and by year’s end hope to possess 240 diabetics signed on for further trial-testing. Aside from typical neuropathy, the upcoming research will also look at the medication’s effects on vibration sensation, neurological status, erectile dysfunction and overall quality of life (the latter two being closely related?)
Those engaging in the trial to date have shared with trial coordinators that they did not see the true benefit of ERSATTA until they stopped taking it as part of the trial. Some have shared anecdotes about having their dry, cracked skin clearing up, and that their typically chilly feet and palms felt warmer — tales encouraged by the research that shows more nutrients appear to be getting to those extremities due to greater circulation.
The business says the FDA has fast-tracked this medication, as there’s a pressing unmet need out there at the diabetes area. Stats from the American Diabetes Association (ADA) inform us about half PWDs have some form of neuropathy. And as we know from our past 411 show on complications, the nerve damage occurs when excess blood sugar injures the walls of tiny blood vessels that nourish the nerves.
I have personally been residing with neuropathy for approximately a decade. Occasionally, I have experienced shooting pains in my feet and have experienced some numbness in the feet and lower legs. However, in taking neurontin pills in those worst instances, the symptoms faded and better blood glucose management over time helped predominate in that complication therefore it was not impacting my life. So, that’s something that I wonder about with this new injection medication — how reluctant will I, and other PWDs, be to taking another shot if we’re not feeling any symptoms and are not really bothered by hepatitis? Nobody enjoys shots, after all.
Cebix president and CEO Joel Martin advised us that’s one of the biggest challenges that the organization is facing.
“A lot of people who have mild complications are not especially motivated to get involved in clinical research in their complications,” he explained. “But we liken this to both cholesterol and blood pressure… in the early days, people did not do anything about those until they had a heart attack. Now, they’re routine checks in the physician.”
Even though the eight-person firm does not have any private D-Connection, Martin emphasized that Cebix is working closely with a few notable names in the area — including Dr. Steve Edelman of TCOYD (Taking Control Of Your Diabetes).
Martin says they’re attempting to spread the word about this medical research, because it has unique potential to assist the PWD population long-term.
“That is a progressive difficulty and we have the ability to find out whether there is a way to stop and even reverse those long-term complications,” Martin said. “Really, this might spare a good deal of trouble down the road. We believe this could be a portion of the whole preventative-health bundle to help keep diabetics wholesome, like making sure that your A1C levels are kept down, exercising and eating right.”
The business is recruiting patients to get their most recent research “by invitation only,” but if you’re interested in possibly taking part yourself, you can get in touch with Cebix by email here.
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This content is made for Diabetes Mine, a consumer health blog concentrated on the diabetes community. The content isn’t medically reviewed and does not adhere to Healthline’s editorial guidelines. For more information about Healthline’s venture with Diabetes Mine, please click here.
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