Per-Henrik Groop, MD, DMSc


September 29, 2016

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Hello. My name is Per-Henrik Groop. I'm a professor of internal medicine and nephrology from the University of Helsinki. I have also been the honorary secretary of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) these past 3 years. We are here at the annual meeting in Munich on the penultimate day. Let me give you a brief overview of what we have been presenting here.

At this meeting, we had a lot of information on drugs, which, of course, is something that doctors are used to prescribing. However, diabetes care is not only the use of drugs. Last year at the EASD meeting in Stockholm, it was the first time we heard results from a cardiovascular outcome trial using a new class of glucose-lowering medications, the SGLT2 inhibitors. That was the EMPA-REG OUTCOME trial with empagliflozin. By the way, many people wonder what REG stands for, and I can tell you: it's the "removal of excess glucose."

We had a standing ovation last year because it was the first time in the history of diabetes that we had a drug—by definition, a glucose-lowering drug—that also reduces cardiovascular death. Absolutely amazing.

At the American Diabetes Association (ADA) meeting in June this year, another landmark trial was presented, which was the LEADER trial. It had similar results but without the same excitement as last year when the EMPA-REG OUTCOME trial was presented. Maybe doctors have gotten used to good results, which is good news for our patients.

On the last day of this year's EASD meeting, we will hear new data that might turn out to be as important as the LEADER and the EMPA-REG trials. I've only read the press release, but I think we can expect something interesting. I hope so, at least. [Editor's note: See Medscape's coverage of this new trial, SUSTAIN 6.]

We also have updates from the LEADER trial and the EMPA-REG OUTCOME trial, which is very exciting. Many doctors ask if we can use SGLT-2 inhibitors and GLP-1 agonists together. That will be addressed in the last session of the meeting. That is clinically a very important question. [Editor's note: See Medscape's coverage of this: First Data on GLP-1 Agonist/SGLT2 Inhibitor Combo in Diabetes.]

Translating Research From Bench to Bedside

I've talked a lot about drugs, but I said that diabetes care is not all about drugs. We had a lot on the program that had nothing to do with drugs. We should not underestimate the importance of lifestyle. We covered lifestyle changes quite a lot during this meeting.

We also had a lot of sessions on other important topics that should not be neglected. For instance, dementia in patients with type 2 diabetes is an increasing problem. Another interesting problem is when kids transition to being adults: How are they treated by pediatricians, and what will happen when they are treated by adult doctors? That was discussed here. These are extremely important topics.

We also had absolutely exciting lectures on pathogenetic mechanisms of diabetes. We had a wonderful Claude Bernard Lecture from Professor Mark Cooper of Australia, focusing on diabetic nephropathy, which really showed data from bench to bedside. That is exciting news for doctors dealing with patients who have diabetes.

I cannot go through the entire program here, but I can tell you that we take great pride in giving the hottest and newest information. We have a rule that we do not repeat a program from one year to another; we always focus on new aspects of the treatment of diabetes. The criteria that we use are innovation, novelty, and clinical relevance. That is actually what diabetes research is.

We have to find new ways to understand diabetes and try to find out how to prevent diabetes and how to prevent complications. That is only going to happen if we understand the disease and devote a lot of effort to research. And, of course, as soon as we have the newest data, they should be disseminated to the doctors who do the real work of taking care of patients.

We have streamed lectures that can be seen directly all over the world. The EASD program is online for everybody to watch. This is the way we want to disseminate the important news from diabetes research. We hope that this will be translated into better care for our patients with diabetes.


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