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Renowned Experts to Share Early Insights Into Why Bariatric Surgery Improves Type 2 Diabetes for Many Patients

SAN DIEGO, June 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- For several years, researchers have known that bariatric surgery can significantly reduce or even eliminate symptoms of type 2 diabetes and other metabolic diseases/disorders in many patients.(1,2,3,4) What has been unclear is why.

Through the Metabolic Applied Research Strategy (MARS), Ethicon Endo-Surgery Inc. (EES), a global leader in surgical innovations, and its academic research partners are beginning to understand why this happens, and why the most basic earlier assumptions about how bariatric surgery works are wrong.

Today, at a special media briefing in San Diego in advance of the 71st Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association, EES and the following leading experts will share early insights from MARS and discuss potential implications for type 2 diabetes treatment:

  • Lee Kaplan, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Weight Center and the Obesity Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School
  • Harold Lebovitz, M.D., Professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology at The State University of New York Health Science Center at Brooklyn
  • Philip R. Schauer, M.D., Professor of Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, Director of Advanced Laparoscopic & Bariatric Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic

"In my practice, I routinely see patients who have remission of their type 2 diabetes within days or hours of gastric bypass, but we don't know why this occurs," said Dr. Schauer, who is speaking at the briefing. "Understanding how surgery has this effect has the potential to unlock new mechanisms of treating type 2 diabetes and, potentially, how to replicate the effect with less invasive procedures or even without surgery."

Clinical studies have demonstrated that some types of bariatric surgery can improve or resolve diabetes independent of weight loss, a benefit widely acknowledged by leading advocacy organizations such as the American Heart Association and the International Diabetes Federation.(1,2,3,4,5,6) Yet real-world practice is slow to catch up to science. In fact, about 15 million people in the U.S. have morbid obesity, but only 1 percent of the clinically eligible population is being treated for morbid obesity through bariatric surgery.(7)

MARS: A Groundbreaking Research Partnership

To address this need, EES has partnered with experts at the Metabolic Diseases Institute at the University of Cincinnati and the GI Metabolism Laboratory and Weight Center at the Massachusetts General Hospital on the Metabolic Applied Research Strategy (MARS) project.  MARS research is designed to help deconstruct, understand and reinvent bariatric procedures in ways that lead to new therapies that are less costly, less invasive, and more effective than current options.

"There is a critical public health need to find novel ways of addressing the obesity epidemic and related co-morbidities, including type 2 diabetes," said Jessica Grossman, M.D., Medical Director, Medical Affairs and MARS, Ethicon Endo-Surgery. "We believe this research will make a valuable contribution by guiding us in the development of innovative, less-invasive and more accessible treatment options."

MARS researchers have been working to deconstruct current bariatric surgical procedures and understand their mechanisms at tissue, cellular, molecular and genetic levels. This knowledge can be used to develop novel therapies that increase procedure effectiveness, decrease risks and costs, and identify patient populations who most benefit from them. It also can be used to reproduce the therapeutic mechanisms of current bariatric surgical procedures by using less-invasive, less-risky, or less-costly approaches.

Insights Into Bariatric Science and Real-World Application

In addition to MARS and other highlights of ongoing research into the physiological effects of bariatric surgery on diabetes, the briefing will address who bariatric surgery is best suited for and the real-world application of surgical interventions for people with type 2 diabetes.

EES will host the briefing on Friday, June 24, from 7-8 a.m. PST in the Gran Turismo room at the Keating Hotel in San Diego, Calif. In addition to Dr. Grossman, the session will also feature Mark Ortiz, a principal engineer with Ethicon Endo-Surgery and founding member of the Metabolic Applied Research Strategy (MARS).

About Ethicon Endo-Surgery

Ethicon Endo-Surgery develops and markets advanced medical devices for minimally invasive and open surgical procedures, focusing on procedure-enabling devices for the interventional diagnosis and treatment of conditions in general and bariatric surgery, as well as gastrointestinal health, gynecology and surgical oncology. For more information, visit

(1) Buchwald H, Avidor Y, Braunwald E, et al. Bariatric surgery: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA. 2004;292:1724-1737

(2) Buchwald H. Consensus conference statement – Bariatric surgery for morbid obesity: Health implications for patients, health professionals, and third-party payers. Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases 2005; 1:371-381.

(3) S Chikunguw et al. “Durable Resolution of Diabetes after Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass Associated with Maintenance of Weight Loss.” SOARD. 200

(4) Dixon, JB et al. Adjustable Gastric Banding and Conventional Therapy for Type 2 Diabetes. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2008; 299 (3): 316-323.

(5) Poirier P et al. “Bariatric Surgery and Cardiovascular Risk Factors: A Scientific Statement from the American Heart Association.” Circulation 2011 Apr 19;123(15):1683-701

(6) International Diabetes Federation Taskforce on Epidemiology and Prevention. “Bariatric Surgical and Procedural Interventions in the Treatment of Obese Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: A Position Statement” (March 2011).

(7) American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery. Metabolic  & Bariatric Surgery Fact Sheet (June 2010).

SOURCE Ethicon Endo-Surgery
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