Diabetes & Obesity

According to the Global Burden of Disease study (2015), the prevalence of diabetes rose from 333 million persons in 2005 to 435 million persons in 2015, and the annual number of deaths from diabetes rose from 1.2 million to 1.5 million.  Twelve percent of global health expenditure ($673 billion) is spent on diabetes (International Diabetes Federation, 2015).

Diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin (type 1 diabetes), or when the insulin does not enable the body’s cells to take up glucose (type 2 diabetes).  Type 2 diabetes represents over 90% of all cases (International Diabetes Federation, 2015).  The main cause of insulin resistance is excess fat tissue and is therefore strongly linked to obesity.  Given the association of diabetes and obesity with death from heart attacks, strokes and cancer, the WHO considers their combination to be one of the most challenging twenty-first century epidemics.

The link between type 2 diabetes and obesity is firmly established.  Obesity reduces life expectancy and increases the incidence of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, several common types of cancer and depression.  Obesity is very prevalent and increasing.  Recent estimates indicated that obesity affects about 33% of the US and 26% of the UK adult populations.

Diet and lifestyle advice are often not effective in reducing obesity.  Currently, three approaches to treatment are available:  first, the use of oral medication (e.g. orlistat) to reduce absorption of food; second, drugs which diminish appetite; and third the use of surgical interventions.  All have problems regarding efficacy or safety.  Many appetite suppressing pharmaceuticals have proven unsafe and have been withdrawn from the market.  Surgical interventions e.g. G-I bypass prove the benefit of weight loss, but they also carry a risk of death, are expensive, and the degree of weight loss is unpredictable.

G-I bypass appears to work by sending continuous satiety gut hormone signals to the brain.  This results in a significant reduction in weight, reduced insulin resistance, and improvements in the body’s ability to release enough insulin and to respond properly to it.

Zihipp has developed potent and long-lasting forms of these same gut hormones to create low cost and highly efficacious therapeutics which gives patients the advantages of G-I bypass without needing to undergo surgery.