The 2011 International Forum for the Advancement of Diabetes Research and Care was held in Athens, Greece, on April 29 and 30, 2011. This was the third in a series of successful meetings bringing together diabetes experts from around the world to discuss current topics and future trends in diabetes management. This year's meeting, chaired by Ele Ferrannini (University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy) and Jay Skyler (University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL), was attended by 400 people from 40 countries, with a faculty comprising 27 international experts.
The opening plenary session discussed new insights into insulin therapy, including insulin intensification strategies and early use of insulin. The second session focused on the potential role of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists in diabetes management, including preclinical data, the GetGoal trial program, and their use in combination with basal insulins. The third plenary session commenced with a roundtable discussion of the role of guidelines in the care of people with diabetes, focusing on the challenges of making guidelines clinically relevant as well as flexible enough to individualize treatment and incorporate new therapeutic advances. The roundtable was followed by presentations on the relationship between insulin therapy and cardiovascular diseases and the influence of genetic variation on cardiovascular risk.
The first day concluded with parallel interactive breakout sessions on various topics. One session focused on microvascular complications, such as diabetic nephropathy, diabetic neuropathy, and foot ulcers, which are common and debilitating complications of diabetes and whose occurrence increases with the duration and severity of hyperglycemia.1,2
The growing burden of diabetes in Asia was discussed, including the difficulties posed by genetic susceptibility, underdiagnosis, and undertreatment. The efficacy and safety of biosimilar drugs, with particular focus on how changes in manufacturing may impact on clinical outcomes, were discussed in another session. Patient education and the role of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) in the assessment of glucose variability were other topics covered by the breakout sessions.
The opening plenary session of the second day discussed approaches to empowering people with diabetes to take control of their disease. It started with a presentation of recent advances in self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) that offer patients greater accuracy and convenience. The second talk presented clinical evidence for basal–bolus therapy as a safe and effective way to manage hyperglycemia in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Preventative strategies for T1D were presented in the final talk of this session.
The Forum concluded with a look at the future of diabetes treatment. The nearly completed ORIGIN study will provide data on the impact of early insulin glargine therapy and ω-3 fatty acids on cardiovascular outcomes in type 2 diabetes (T2D). Current results from the field of β-cell replacement were presented, including in vitro generation of β cells and in vivo regeneration. The session concluded with a presentation on the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Artificial Pancreas Project.
The meeting provided a comprehensive update on clinical research and treatment strategies that will help improve the lives of people with diabetes both using currently available therapies as well as with future developments in diabetes treatment.