Harnessing Hypos: Glucagon As An Everyday Tool

Beta cells take up about two-thirds of the space in islets, and stimulating or replacing them has dominated approaches to treatment or potential cures for diabetes for almost 100 years. Alpha cells that populate most of the remaining third of human islets have received comparatively little attention. It wasn’t until 1923 that researchers identified the glucagon-enabling role of alphas. Since then, glucagon has languished from neglect, except as a last resort for hypoglycemic events. No more. According to Dr. John Kinzell, co-founder and Executive VP of a biopharma company, Xeris Pharmaceuticals. He and Xeris are moving glucagon from “rescue dog” status to serving as a constant companion for people with diabetes.

Xeris is developing a liquid glucagon that will last for two years at room temperature and promises to change the way people treat diabetes, whether they are Type 1 or Type 2. The company’s glucagon product farthest down the path to clearance is G-Pen™, a rescue treatment for severe hypoglycemic events (hypos), where a caregiver typically administers the injection. G-Pen™ is a user-friendly product with only two steps to injection. A second, broader use glucagon product in development, the G-Pen Mini™, uses the same glucagon formulation, but is intended for day-to-day use rather than emergencies. The Mini™ allows for quick and easy glucagon injections in small doses, offering a non-caloric way for diabetics to treat mild to moderate hypoglycemic events (hypos). Indeed, it may finally allow people with diabetes to control their glucose levels much like a normal pancreas would, by allowing insulin and glucagon to work together.

A quick and easy way to treat severe to life-threatening hypos has obvious benefits. But, controlling or averting mild to moderate hypoglycemia is equally important. A study published in 2011, reporting results among almost 1500 people who experienced mild to moderate hypos, showed that more than two-thirds of the reported events were at work, resulting in an average of almost 9 hours of missed time on the job. Multiply this by two to three events per month and the economic impact becomes clear. It’s not just emergency room costs we have to worry about, but lost productivity. G-Pen Mini™ is a potential solution.

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i dont care how wonderful it is to be able to administer a better physiological response but another injection-and for shaking hypo hands-is so hard to think about as a positive! pass the smarties!

I'm not sure about the mini glucagon injection - why not just put it in an insulin pen type device or pump so people could use it as needed, like insulin?

I do REALLY like the idea of an epi-pen like glucagon pen. I carry my epi-pen around everywhere because it's easy for me or bystanders to use in an emergency. I only have a glucagon kit because my endo strongly suggested it, and it stays at home where it's not much use (I live alone and know I would definitely not be able to use it if I needed it).

It would be GREAT to have a device that I or any bystander could use in an emergency. If it was anything like an epi-pen, I think it would be possible to use even by yourself if you were low.