Endocrinology Research

The Henry Ford Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Bone and Mineral Metabolism has a long history of pioneering clinical research in the study of diabetes, both type 1 and type 2, and participates in advancing the understanding and treatment of bone and mineral disorders through ongoing laboratory research.

Diabetes research at Henry Ford

National Institutes of Health clinical trials

The Henry Ford diabetes team was part of the landmark Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) that proved keeping blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible (A1c level of 7.2%) helps to prevent the development and reduce the severity of the long-term complications of diabetes, such as kidney disease, eye disease, and nerve problems.

The DCCT patients at Henry Ford and across the US have continued on in a study called the Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications (EDIC). The EDIC study is examining how genetic factors, cholesterol, blood pressure, and A1c levels might be associated with the development of vascular, neuropathic, and cardiovascular complications in these type 1 diabetes patients. Henry Ford Hospital is one of 28 centers across the US participating in this DCCT/EDIC 25-year clinical research study.

Another major clinical study, called Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD), is studying which approaches are best to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke in adults with type 2 diabetes. The ACCORD trial enrolled 10,000 adults with type 2 diabetes in 70 clinics around the US and Canada. Patients were assigned to a treatment regimen involving either aggressive or standard control of blood glucose. Also, depending on their blood pressure and cholesterol levels, patients were assigned to either a high blood pressure or high blood fats (cholesterol and triglycerides) part of the study. Results from this study are expected in 2010.

Other diabetes research

The Henry Ford diabetes team participates in ongoing research for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes to improve medications and develop innovative methods for diabetes management:

  • Insulin medications: We participate in clinical trials for type 1 and type 2 diabetes, which have resulted in safer and better insulin products, both insulin that is injected into the body and insulin in a pill form. Henry Ford was the first in Michigan to bring patients human insulin in the 1980s, now a standard in insulin treatment. New insulin medications are continually available to our patients as research continues to match types of insulin medications to the type and amount of insulin required by each individual patient.
  • Blood glucose meters: New device trials are undertaken to help make blood glucose meters easier for patients to use and to improve the accuracy of blood glucose measurements. Henry Ford offers the most advanced meters, called continuous glucose monitoring devices, which automatically measure blood glucose levels more than 250 times each day. Such technology advancements help patients who tend to experience more episodes of hypoglycemia by closely monitoring glucose levels to improve insulin and food management, thereby reducing these episodes.
  • Insulin delivery devices: Patients are provided access to the newest insulin delivery devices, such as the now commonly used insulin pen and insulin pump.