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Geisinger, Pharmas Partner on Diabetes Model

Diabetes devices

(stevepb, Pixabay)

25 September 2017. An alliance between the Geisinger Health System and two pharmaceutical companies is developing a computer model to predict long-term health risks of patients with type 2 diabetes. Financial and intellectual property aspects of the project involving Geisinger, a health care system serving central and eastern Pennsylvania, with drug makers Eli Lilly and Company and Boehringer Ingelheim were not disclosed.

Eli Lilly in Indianapolis, and Boehringer, in Ingelheim, Germany, are already collaborating on development and commercialization of new diabetes drugs, resulting in the licensing of several Boehringer drugs by Lilly. Diabetes is a chronic disorder where the pancreas does not create enough insulin to process the sugar glucose to flow into the blood stream and cells for energy in the body. In type 2 diabetes, which accounts for some 90 percent of all diabetes cases, the pancreas produces some but not enough insulin, or the body cannot process insulin.

Diabetes often results in serious complications, particularly as patients age. The companies cite data showing people with diabetes are 2 to 4 times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, and about two-thirds (68%) of deaths of people with type 2 diabetes are caused by cardiovascular disease. In addition, say the companies, diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure in the U.S. The financial burden on the health care system of these complications is estimated at $23 billion per year.

The computer model is expected to enable clinicians to predict which patients with type 2 diabetes are most likely to be hospitalized with heart failure, die from cardiovascular disease, or encounter kidney failure. Geisinger is offering access to its electronic health records, with identifying information removed, to develop the algorithms in the computer model. The Geisinger data are expected to include medical history, vital signs, current medications, lab tests, and demographics.

The developers anticipate the model will make it possible to prescribe more precise treatment strategies for people with type 2 diabetes that align with guidelines for improving patient outcomes. “Our partnership,” says Geisinger epidemiologist Brent Williams in a joint statement, “will use real-world data and predictive modeling to deploy precision health care strategies to bring the most value to the people we care for. We hope the knowledge gained from this predictive model can help health care providers better target their treatment recommendations for people with type 2 diabetes and, as a result, lower their risk for these serious diabetes-related consequences.”

In January 2011, Boehringer and Lilly agreed to jointly develop and commercialize new therapies for diabetes, which in effect integrated their product current lines and new drugs still in development. The drug makers say they are also helping to raise awareness of cardiovascular complications from diabetes. Lilly, for example, has a separate web site on diabetes care.

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