Stakeholder Views: Fighting the Diabetic Epidemic

In Features 17, Health by Mary Kurek1 Comment

We reserved this section to gather viewpoints from leaders of different industries, associations, and backgrounds who are advocating for and making life better for diabetics.

Thomas Serena MD FACS

From Thomas Serena, MD, FACS, President at Association for the Advancement of Wound Care

“When I started caring for patients with diabetic foot ulcers in the 1990s, treatment consisted of moist wound healing, debridement and rudimentary off-loading. The 21 st century brought an explosion of advanced wound care dressings, negative pressure suction devices, skin substitutes, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and numerous other advanced modalities; However, the rapid advances failed to include guidance on how and when to use the new technologies. We lacked diagnostics. The latest innovations in the field of “woundology” are novel diagnostic imaging and point-of-care tests. Fluorescence imaging, now cleared by the FDA, allows the clinician to visualize bacteria in an ulcer not seen on clinical examination (MolecuLight, Toronto, Canada). Similarly, a simple point-of-care diagnostic that rapidly detects harmful bacterial enzymes and proteases that inhibit healing awaits FDA approval. Recently completed clinical trials validated a second test that identifies excessive inflammation in the wound (WoundChek Fall River, Massachusetts). Lastly, an FDA-cleared near-infrared camera can assess the amount of oxygen in tissue, a crucial component in the wound healing process (Kent Imaging, Calgary, Canada). These innovations will improve the efficacy of current technologies by pinpointing factors in the wound that inhibit healing. Clinicians can then choose the technology best suited to address the problem. Finally, diagnostics will lead to the development of novel therapeutics designed to treat a specific abnormality in the diabetic foot ulcer.”


Kimberley Hanson, Exec. Dir., Fed. Affairs, Diabetes Canada

From Kimberley Hanson, Executive Director, Federal Affairs, Diabetes Canada

Kimberley Hanson is Executive Director of Federal Affairs at Diabetes Canada, responsible for advocacy with the federal government and on national issues. She also leads the Diabetes 360˚ initiative to implement a nation-wide strategy to address the diabetes epidemic.  Having lived with diabetes for nearly 25 years, Kim is
passionate about helping others live well with the disease while also working towards a cure. Over the past 15 years, Kim and her family have raised more than $1 million for research into a cure for diabetes and for
supports for adults living with type 1 diabetes. Prior to joining Diabetes Canada, Kim held various
senior management positions in Communications, Business Development and Human Resources at
Payments Canada and Export Development Canada.

“One in three Canadians now lives with either diabetes or prediabetes, and another is diagnosed every 3 minutes. A 20-year-old in Canada now faces a 50 percent chance of developing the disease in their lifetime. To address this growing epidemic, Diabetes Canada has led an innovative and collaborative approach to developing a nation-wide strategy to better prevent, screen for and manage diabetes – Diabetes 360˚. This evidence-based framework was developed by 100 stakeholder organizations from across the country and will drive towards data-informed improvements in patient health outcomes, preventing or delaying millions of cases of type 2 diabetes and its complications, and saving our healthcare systems billions of dollars.”


Brian T. Bloomquist, Ph.D.
Diabetes External Innovation
Eli Lilly and Company

From Brian Bloomquist, Ph.D., Diabetes External Innovation, Eli Lilly and Company

From the perspective gained in my role in covering external innovation in diabetes for Lilly, there has been nothing less than a revolutionary advance in the development of novel therapies to treat Type 2 diabetes over the past few years, particularly with the introduction of SGLT2 inhibitors and GLP-1 mimetics both of which have demonstrated superiority in CV outcomes studies. Disease modification is within reach: GLP-1 agonists can reduce body weight and improve glycemic control meaningfully, and next-generation dual- or tri-acting incretins (activating the GLP-1, GIP, and/or glucagon receptors) will likely be able to elicit greater than 10% body weight loss as monotherapy, perhaps reaching bariatric surgery levels of body weight loss when dosed in combination with other agents that are in development. Although there has been impressive progress in the identification of novel diabetes therapeutics over the past several years further innovation can be expected to continue in the near term, but differentiation from existing therapeutic options is key. We are at the cusp of identifying agents that may very well induce body weight loss in excess of 20% when dosed in combination with next-generation incretin agonists, and other disease-modifying approaches such as the development of insulin sensitizers and other agents that act to maintain or improve beta-cell health are being explored as are cell-based therapies which could replace or otherwise supplement failed endogenous beta cells. Advances in connected-care device technology hold the promise for dramatically improved glucose control and quality-of-life for Type 1 diabetics in particular, and, importantly, advances in the development of next-generation insulins continue to be made, including the possibility of once-weekly dosing, or even the development of breakthrough glucose-sensing insulins which could allow the aggressive pursuit of glucose control without an increased risk of hypoglycemia and weight gain. Finally, novel disease-modifying approaches to the treatment of the complications of diabetes, including heart failure, nephropathy, neuropathy, and retinopathy are being explored, and on-going developments in these areas of unmet medical need may prove to have the potential to benefit the health of diabetics in striking ways in the coming years.

Julien de Salaberry, Founder/CEO Galen Growth Asia


From Julien de Salaberry, Founder/CEO, Galen Growth Asia

“Investors and innovators alike in Asia are growing in sophistication and maturity so we are increasingly seeing digital health business models in the region demonstrate Proof of Value at valuations which remain very much in sync with business fundamentals.”




When the restaurant industry pays attention, you get fast food putting up signs in their store with nutritional values and others, like Subway, who have menus that cater to healthier eating for diabetics. 

Lanette Kovachi, Global Dietician, Subway

“We’re proud to offer our guests many ways to customize their favorite sandwiches and salads. Guests following any lifestyle could find a balanced meal at Subway, with a wide array of fresh vegetables, lean meats, sauces as well as whole grain certified bread options. For diabetics, I recommend one of our 6” Fresh Fit subs – they are sensible in calories, low in saturated fat, a good source of fiber and whole grains, and contain beneficial nutrients like vitamins A and C.  If a guest would like, they can ask to have the bread scooped out of their sandwich to cut down on carbs or turn their sandwich into a veggie-loaded satisfying salad.” 


  1. Pingback: [Update DEC 2019] The Introducer - Innovator Solutions to the Diabetes Epidemic, Latest Biz Opps, WHY Mentoring Online Store Goes Live - The Frontrunners League

Leave a Reply