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14 December 2001 News Update


Type 2 diabetes is a time bomb. By 2020 diabetes will affect about 300 million people according to World Health Organisation estimates - up from 130 million in 2000.

The Ministry of Health forecasts that the number of people with type 2 diabetes will double by 2011 and nearly 167,000 New Zealanders will be diagnosed by 2021 - many more will remain undiagnosed.

"The type 2 diabetes epidemic is a result of disastrous dietary habits and increasingly inactive lifestyles in many countries," says UK-based GlaxoSmithKline research director Dr Steve Smith, who visited New Zealand recently.

Dr Smith headed the team that developed Avandia", a breakthrough medicine that has changed the paradigm for type 2 diabetes treatment in many countries. Avandia" lowers blood glucose levels by directly reducing insulin resistance, the fundamental cause of type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is a major cause of heart disease that places an enormous financial drain on secondary healthcare. In early research Avandia(TM) has shown to be very promising with respect to cardiovascular complications.

GlaxoSmithKline is now embarking on a US$250 million research programme on the long-term effectiveness of Avandia" over the next five to eight years.

While GlaxoSmithKline's worldwide research and development has created a breakthrough treatment, Dr Smith says it can only serve to stem the tide.

"The core challenge is in changing people's attitudes to diet and exercise and educating people about the life altering effects of diabetes."

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