Abu Dhabi: Prospects of a needle-free future make diabetes specialists optimistic about how the condition will be managed in 10 to 20 years from now.
With new medical devices and procedures, the use of insulin injections will no longer be necessary, according to Dr Maha Taysir Barakat, Medical and Research Director and Consultant Endocrinologist at the Imperial College of London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC), who shared her views in an exclusive interview with Gulf News.
New procedures will allow doctors to recreate the function of the pancreas without needles through an artificial device that will consist of an insulin pump embedded under the skin.
"The artificial pancreas device is currently available, however, [it] only does 50 per cent of the job, and requires human intervention to help keep the blood glucose stable.
"What we're waiting for is an artificial pancreas device that does not require human intervention, and provides diabetics with insulin without the need to intervene in any way," Dr Barakat said.
A second new innovation to help ease the condition among diabetes Type 1 patients includes stem cells.
"These are cells that have been converted to pancreas cells and re-introduced to the body to produce insulin on their own... several centres around the world ... are actually in the last stages ... and we expect to see it soon."
In addition, the ability to recreate a gastric bypass without the need for bariatric surgery, known as weight loss surgery performed on people who are obese, is another option.
"Patients lose a huge amount of weight through the surgery, and Type 2 diabetics can be cured within six months after the surgery... However it can lead to serious complications... and can result in risks for certain diabetic patients.
"What I hope to see is a major development that will have the same effects of bariatric surgery without the need to go through surgery," she said.
Other than running the ICLDC, Dr Barakat makes sure that approximately 300 diabetic patients are being serviced on a daily basis.
The ICLDC since its initiation in 2006 has registered over 12,000 patients with diabetes, and has been involved in major prevention campaigns to help control the condition.
Some of the successful annual diabetes prevention programmes in the past four years in Abu Dhabi, by drawing in more residents to support the cause, include: Play Sports Live healthily, Walk UAE (walkathon), and school visits to help educate students about prevention measures regarding the condition.