Type 2 diabetes develops as a result of prolonged insulin resistance and insufficient insulin production. It is, in many cases, linked to obesity and lifestyle factors such as inactivity. The rising prevalence of obesity is driving the type 2 diabetes pandemic, and diabetes is now among the top 10 causes of death globally1. Type 2 diabetes is associated with long-term damage to vital organs, including the kidneys and heart, and effective glucose lowering has been shown to reduce the risk of serious complications2,3. To enable more effective interventions and better long-term outcomes, Novo Nordisk scientists are currently refining the treatment of type 2 diabetes – for example, by advancing from subcutaneous injections to oral administration. Our research focus has also expanded from only reducing blood glucose levels, to also treating related complications.
Type 2 diabetes accounts for around 90% of all cases of diabetes4
People with obesity are 5 x more likely to develop type 2
People with type 2 diabetes are
2–4 x more likely to develop cardiovascular disease6
Glucagon-like-peptide-1 (GLP-1) is a hormone that induces insulin secretion, and has numerous beneficial effects on vital organs, including the pancreas, heart, and liver7. For this reason, GLP-1 analogues are increasingly used as treatment for people with type 2 diabetes.
Native GLP-1, however, is rapidly broken down by enzymes like DPP-4 in the blood stream. At Novo Nordisk, we have a long history and strong expertise in overcoming such barriers by using protein engineering to transform natural proteins like GLP-1 into medicines.
Explore our expertise in prolonging the action of proteins like GLP-1.
Meet the scientist
Proteins like insulin and GLP-1 are destroyed by human digestive enzymes in the gastrointestinal tract if they are ingested orally. Consequently, today's insulin and GLP-1 treatments must be delivered by injection. Scientist Jian Wu works at Novo Nordisk R&D in Denmark as part of a team that is pursuing a true breakthrough for patients – an oral GLP-1 treatment for type 2 diabetes.
To support our commitment to developing effective and convenient treatments for the benefit of people with serious chronic conditions, Novo Nordisk has partnered with Emisphere Technologies to pursue a common goal of developing orally administered protein-based treatments.
In people with diabetes, 70% of deaths are attributable to cardiovascular disease6
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the #1 cause of morbidity and mortality in people with diabetes globally. In Novo Nordisk, we take patients’ increased risk of cardiovascular disease highly serious. We focus our research on new therapeutics which not only reduce blood glucose levels but also reduce the risk of cardiovascular events. To learn more about the link between type 2 diabetes and CVD, and how to protect the type 2 diabetic heart, visit our Heart of Type 2 page for more information.
In September 2018, our scientists in Oxford, UK, moved into new facilities at the University of Oxford. This location underpins the close collaboration between Novo Nordisk scientists and scientists at the university, who have forged an alliance to discover new therapies for people living with type 2 diabetes.
To contribute to the
scientific community in our areas of expertise, we take pride in
publishing our scientists’ new findings. Visit our library to review
some of their recent work.