Affecting eight percent of America's population, diabetes can lead to blindness, kidney failure, strokes and heart disease. Thanks to Tel Aviv University researchers, a new cure –– based on advances in cell therapy –– may be within reach.

Prof. Shimon Efrat from TAU's Sackler Faculty of Medicine, whose research group is among world leaders in beta cell expansion, has developed a way to cultivate cells derived from insulin-producing beta cells from human tissue in the laboratory. It may be possible to implant these new healthy cells into patients with type 1 diabetes.

The need for long term studies to establish the best means of treating Diabetes, was underlined by Prof John Cleland from the University of Hull at the ESC Congress in Munich. Prof Cleland listed the latest treatment available for patients and voiced his concern about the side-effects and efficacy of available anti-diabetic drugs.

Treating Patients with Diabetes Mellitus

Current experiences with one of the two CE Marked devices, the CoreValve ReValving® System for Percutaneous Aortic Valve Replacement (PAVR) have proved to be an overall success. This device consists of a porcine pericardial valve prosthesis mounted on a self-expanding Nitonol frame, which is delivered by means of an 18 French size (6mm) catheter.

Transapical access is based on decades of clinical experience with de-airing the heart, through the tip (apex) of the left ventricle, during routine cardiac surgical interventions. Insertion of a catheter and later-on closure through the apex is possible in a relatively uncomplicated manner. An anterolateral minithoracotomy is a simple and standardized access to the apex. It is applicable in almost all patients and they can be extubated soon afterwards. This procedure can even be performed without intubation under regional anaesthesia in some patients.

In recent years, much attention has been given to depression following heart attack and its effects on prognosis. Several large scale studies have been undertaken (ENRICHD, SADHART, MIND-IT, CREATE) in which depression was targeted. Although we hoped that treating depression would result in an improved prognosis, these studies have not provided much evidence to support this position: effects on depression itself have been minor and did not translate into cardiovascular benefits.

Conversely, lifestyle, diabetes, dyslipidemia, cigarette smoking and hypertension contribute to most of the population-attributable risk in the large, international INTERHEART study of acute myocardial infarction (heart attacks). The identification of single gene disorders may pave the way to a better understanding of complex metabolic pathways. Understanding the genes that regulate high density lipoprotein (HDL) metabolism may lead to novel therapeutic approaches. This has been emphasized by two therapeutic approaches for the treatment of CAD:

According to recent evidence school-based intervention programmes provide the best results for reducing prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity if they are performed with involvement of stakeholders and political support. In this context physical activity education in schools, reducing television viewing and nutritional education are examples of interventions that have been successful. Reducing the consumption of sugar-added drinks has significant beneficial effects on weight development.

One in three people with a high risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) over the next 10 years have not been diagnosed, according to a major UK study in the September issue of IJCP, the International Journal of Clinical Practice.

The shortfall in identifying people at high risk is greatest when it comes to middle-aged men, says the study of more than 71,000 men and women, which was carried out by Oxford University and funded by Unilever.

The best place to seek novel compounds for pharmaceutical drugs, alternative energy sources, and a host of industrial applications, is within natural systems that have evolved over millions of years. Scientists now realise that the precise molecular arrangements within natural pathways in organisms have been highly tuned for specific processes and provide both compounds that can be exploited directly and vital information over how to synthesise new products by mimicking biochemical processes.

Importantly, the Food and Drug Administration recently summarized a statement that in various controlled clinical trials the cardiovascular risks of COX-2 selective drugs have been indistinguishable from non-selective NSAIDs, thus also raising serious questions about the safety of the latter. As such, the FDA mandated a "boxed warning" for COX-2 selective inhibitors and traditional NSAIDs alike in view of the potential of these agents to increase adverse cardiovascular outcomes.