5 Takeaways From ADA 2017

Cardiovascular outcomes trials and a photography ban that dominated social media were big news at the 77th Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association.

The 77th Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association (ADA), held June 9-13, 2017, in San Diego, California, brought 16,000 researchers, clinicians, and advocates together to hear the most up-to-date findings, discuss key policy issues, and see what’s coming in diabetes technology. Here are 5 takeaways from the meeting:

1. The diabetes-cardiovascular convergence

A trend seen at April’s meeting of the American College of Cardiology picked up steam at ADA: the overlap between the 2 fields is bringing more depth and perspectives to each, for the benefit of patients. ADA featured cardiovascular outcomes trials for diabetes drugs, including a head-to-head trial for 2 insulins. There were also symposia on dyslipidemia and the importance of studying the effects of therapy on heart failure.

2. Class effect in CANVAS

The most anticipated trial of the meeting found that the sodium glucose co-transporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitor canagliflozin (Invokana) reduced the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and cardiovascular death in a trial of 10,000 patients. A related trial, CANVAS-R, found a 40% reduction in overall renal decline. While the results suggest a cardioprotective class effect for SGLT2 inhibitors, comparisons with 2015 results for empagliflozin are difficult because the 2 trials had different study populations. According to a statement from the lead study author's institution, the more diverse study population of CANVAS shows that canagliflozin offers protection “not just for people already suffering cardiovascular disease, but for all with type 2 diabetes.”

3. More technology, with a focus on type 2

ADA serves as the annual tech show for diabetes patients and their doctors—the place where everyone can touch new products or prototypes. Collaborations between traditional medical device makers and giants like Apple and Google continue, and there’s more emphasis on giving those with type 2 diabetes tools like continuous glucose monitoring to manage their disease.

4. Tough times for Medicare DPP?

A session on the National Diabetes Prevention Program yielded this caveat from an official with CMS’ Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation: the healthcare service is still coming, “on or after” January 1, 2018. The combination of a brand-new health service and wrapping an outcomes-based payment model around Medicare’s fee-for-service system is a big challenge, apparently.

5. Social media matters

For the second straight year, ADA made itself the story with an outdated social media policy. In 2016, Bloomberg chronicled an ill-timed embargo of cardiovascular outcomes results for Novo Nordisk’s liraglutide, which left scientists tweeting out slides before reporters’ stories reached the markets. The solution? This year, ADA banned all photography during the presentations, at a time when sharing data from scientific meetings via Twitter has become the norm. Sadly, the online protests drowned out some great science.