5 Things to Look for at the ADA Scientific Sessions

Cardiovascular outcomes trials, new technologies, and the fight over what we eat will be featured at the upcoming 76th Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association in New Orleans.

The 76th Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association (ADA), set for June 10-14, 2016, in New Orleans, Louisiana, come at a crucial point in care for this chronic disease: never before have there been so many options, through therapy and technology, to prevent and treat both type 1 diabetes (T1D) and type 2 disease (T2D).

And yet, the Sessions will likely show that the best is yet to come. Here are 5 things to look for from the meeting:

1. Results from 2 key trials. Cardiovascular (CV) outcomes trials have been called the new “cottage industry” in diabetes therapy research, and sessions on their results pack the house at ADA. On June 13, 2016, results from the LEADER Trial on liraglutide will be presented, following the announcement of topline results that this GLP-1 receptor agonist reduces risk of major adverse CV events (MACE). The next morning, on June 14, 2016, attendees will hear additional results from the EMPA-REG Outcome Trial; which broke ground in September 2015 when it reported a 14% reduction in the risk of MACE for patients taking empagliflozin, an SGLT2 inhibitor.

2. Technology, technology, technology. The ADA Scientific Sessions serve as the coming-out party for new or in-the-pipeline medical technology, from devices to apps. Alongside the things to touch in the exhibit hall are the presentations of clinical trial data that show how well things work. This year, there’s an added wrinkle: the T1D community is buzzing about the upcoming July 21, 2016, meeting at FDA on whether Dexcom’s G5 continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system can gain approval for dosing, which might open the door for Medicare coverage.

3. Results from the Pathways initiative. A few years ago, ADA created “Pathway to Stop Diabetes,” which directs research funds to young investigators working on cutting-edge projects. Updates on their work will be featured in a special symposium June 13, 2016. Look for research on how genes and gene regulation affect T2D, how smell impacts metabolism, a potential new target for T2D therapy, and what the ADA describes as “a potential trigger for beta cell autoimmunity associated with type 1 diabetes.”

4. How payment affects care. Robert A. Gabbay, MD, PhD, FACP, who is the chief medical officer at Joslin Diabetes Center and editor-in-chief of Evidence-Based Diabetes Management, will chair a session June 10, 2016 called “Follow the Money—How Costs and Payments Impact Diabetes Care.” Look for a lively discussion on drug pricing, insurance contracting, and the impact of value-based models on diabetes management. Will the recent deal between UnitedHealthcare and Medtronic come up?

5. The politics of eating. No less than 85 sessions or abstracts deal in some way with nutrition and its effect on diabetes. But if titles are any sign, the June 10, 2016, session on the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans will pull no punches. “The Evidence and Politics of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans,” will feature Harvard’s Frank B. Hu, MD, PhD, who was a member of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC). Nutrition advocates have blasted federal officials for caving in on some of DGAC’s most thought-provoking recommendations in the guidelines issued early this year. (See coverage of Hu’s talk on the DGAC report at Patient-Centered Diabetes Care 2015, presented by The American Journal of Managed Care and Joslin Diabetes Center.)

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