PHARMACY

JDRF announces insulin initiative for artificial pancreas program

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation has expanded its artifical pancreas program with an initiative that will continue its efforts to develop an automated system that can better manage the blood sugar of people with Type 1 diabetes.

JDRF’s insulin initiative will fund investigators at leading academic institutions to test novel insulin formulations and delivery systems that may speed insulin action so that Type 1 diabetics one day may be able to skip routine insulin injections. JDRF will fund the following doctors and companies:

  • Dr. Bruce Buckingham of Stanford University to test such an insulin, Viaject, which is currently in development at Connecticut-based Biodel Inc.
  • Dr. W. Kenneth Ward of Oregon Health Sciences University to perform artificial pancreas experiments with Viaject insulin
  • Dr. Howard Zisser at the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute to conduct studies there with Afrezzaa rapid-acting insulin being developed by California’s MannKind Corp.; inhaled at mealtime, Afrezza achieves peak insulin levels quickly
  • JDRF recently announced a collaboration with Becton, Dickinson and Co. to develop a microneedle-based delivery system.

In addition, JDRF will provide funding to test two new devices also aimed at providing mechanical means to achieve faster insulin action:

  • Dr. Howard Zisser at the University of California, Santa Barbara’s Sansum Diabetes Research Institute testing Roche Diabetes Care’s Accu-Chek DiaPort system. The Accu-Chek DiaPort is a percutaneous port system, connected with an external pump, that delivers insulin directly to the liver, the primary site of insulin action
  • Dr. William Tamborlane of Yale University to test a unique warming device, InsuPatch, made by InsuLine Medical. Preliminary data suggests that this device, adaptable to most infusion pumps, considerably accelerates the action of insulin.

“A key to making an artificial pancreas system significantly better than current methods to manage diabetes is to mirror as much as possible how the human pancreas works,” said Sanjoy Dutta, Director of JDRF’s insulin initiative. “So we either need faster-acting insulin or devices or a combination of the two that more quickly and efficiently deliver insulin.

 

“Our work to date involving faster-acting insulin reflects the philosophy of JDRF’s artificial pancreas project to partner with multiple academic and corporate researchers to speed the development of artificial pancreas systems,” Dutta said. “Each of these projects holds promise to demonstrate that faster-acting insulins will help improve glucose control. And that gets us one step closer to much better treatments for people with diabetes, healthier lives, and fewer complications –– while we continue the ultimate search for a cure.”

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East Harlem walk-in asthma center opens

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer have announced the opening of a new asthma walk-in center in East Harlem, where the rate of childhood asthma hospitalizations is the highest in the city.

The new East Harlem walk-in asthma center — an expansion of the East Harlem Asthma Center of Excellence and a part of the City’s PlaNYC initiative — is aimed to reduce childhood asthma hospitalizations by 50% over the next five years.

The center is one of the key initiatives of Stringer’s Go Green East Harlem, a collaborative community-based initiative that has focused on five core areas: public health and healthy food, parks and open space, sustainable business, transportation, and green building.

The walk-in center staff worked out of the East and Central Harlem District Public Health Office before the new space was completed. The $3.5 million project included $700,000 from the Manhattan borough president’s office. The Department of Citywide Administrative Services provided site selection and project management services for the construction.

The new walk-in center will offer a number of asthma-related services, including on-site asthma assessments, individual and group asthma education, social support services, one-on-one asthma counseling, linkage to services to rid homes of asthma-triggering pests and mold and referrals for medical care. The walk-in center will also include a library with educational materials and computers with Internet access to help families learn the best strategies to manage asthma.

More than 25% of the children in East Harlem have asthma, and East Harlem has the highest rate of childhood asthma hospitalizations in the city. In 2008, 11-of-every-1,000 East Harlem children ages 14 years and younger were hospitalized. In 2008, Stringer and the Health Department’s East and Central Harlem District Public Health Office founded the East Harlem Asthma Center of Excellence to address the issue.

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Stew Leonard’s offers employees on-site physicals

BY Antoinette Alexander

NORWALK, Conn. Stew Leonard’s recently brought into its Yonkers store nurses and doctors from Inter-State Diagnostic to conduct on-site physicals for its team members as part of its commitment to preventive health care, the company announced.

The program kicked off Aug. 2 with 24 associates receiving their annual physical performed by a medical team with Inter State Diagnostic. The associates reported to a conference room above the store for blood work, an EKG and complete physical. Inter-State Diagnostic’s doctors and nurses provided privacy screens and all necessary medical equipment, and met with each team member regarding their healthcare-related questions. A translator for Stew Leonard’s Spanish-speaking employees also was on hand.

On-site physicals are the latest example of how the grocer has taken an active approach to preventive health care for its more than 2,500 employees. On-site cholesterol and blood pressure screenings, mammograms and flu shots are offered throughout year and discounts on weight-loss programs, smoking cessation aids, and fitness center memberships also are provided to both full and part-time team members. In addition, through  Aug 31, Stew Leonard’s will give team members up to $500 in Benefit Bucks ­or money toward their deductible ­ to encourage them to visit their doctor for their annual checkup.

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