As I was reading this issue’s content, I was reminded of the challenge to constantly innovate. From devising highly specific patient treatments to seeking scientific discoveries for new cures, the medical field labors under a constant deadline—a deadline that is, in fact, a matter of life and death.
Consider this issue’s feature on pancreatic cancer, now the fourth-leading cause of U.S. cancer deaths. Although new treatments are vigorously sought, advances in the main approaches—chemotherapy/ radiation and/or surgery—have proven difficult to come by. The best approach for now, is for doctors to carefully identify patient and tumor features and devise the most specific treatment approach based on those characteristics. It’s a tall order, and even then, the prognosis is often grim.
But then there are some successes. In this issue, you’ll also learn about a glue that could be used in treatments for a number of cardiovascular diseases. A glue secreted by mussels has provided a recipe for a gel that stabilizes damaged blood vessels. Dr. Christian Kastrup, and the rest of his team at the University of British Columbia, made the discovery while searching for an underwater adhesive that would not easily wash away under blood flow. The benefits of the glue could be far-reaching if it receives approval for human application. Cardiovascular disease is still the number one cause of death in the U.S., with one out of every three people dying of a heart attack or stroke. Many years of research and trials are ahead before the gel can be translated into practice, but it’s a step in the right direction.
At The Endocrine Society, we also feel the challenge to innovate, especially when it comes to helping you stay current on new advances in the field. I hope you have an opportunity to visit our journal Focus sites, the first of which is the JCEM Diabetes Focus. As part of our digital strategy to further enhance the value of our publications, the Focus sites were created to provide direct access to critical information on endocrine disorders. JCEM’s Diabetes Focus is now available, with others launching soon.
In the meantime, enjoy the issue you hold in your hands. I hope you’re inspired to innovate!
Eleanore Tapscott, Senior Director of Publications