The World Congress on Interventional Therapies for Type 2 Diabetes (WCITD) was established in New York City in 2008. This was followed by two more editions – one in 2011 again in New York City, and one in 2015 in London. The latter was held in conjunction with the 2nd Diabetes Surgery Summit (DSS-II) during which the Global Clinical Guidelines for Surgical Treatment of Diabetes were developed.
The Global Clinical Guidelines for Surgical Treatment of Diabetes were published in Diabetes Care in June 2016 and now formally endorsed by more than 50 major medical and surgical organizations from around the world, including the American Diabetes Association (ADA). These guidelines recommend that gastrointestinal operations originally intended for weight loss (“bariatric surgery”) be used as standard treatment options for patients with type 2 diabetes and obesity – including those with only mild obesity – a practice referred to as “metabolic surgery”. This development is based on a large body of biological and clinical evidence, including numerous randomized clinical trials, controlled long-term clinical observations with hard outcomes, mechanistic studies, and economic analyses. On the back of such evidence, the ADA has recently strengthened and expanded their recommendations for metabolic surgery in their annual Standards of Care for the Management of Diabetes.
In addition to providing an effective treatment option for millions of patients with type 2 diabetes, metabolic surgery provides an unprecedented opportunity to advance diabetes research at large. In fact, studying how surgery works may inform the design of novel pharmaceutical and less invasive, device-based interventions for diabetes. Furthermore, the evidence that surgery commonly promotes remission of a disease long considered irreversible could strengthen searches for the elusive causes of diabetes, thereby reinvigorating hopes to find a cure.
WCITD 2019 will build on the success of previous events, with a focus on providing access to cutting-edge treatment and expanding on the work achieved with the Global Clinical Guidelines for Surgical Treatment of Diabetes developed in 2015. Now is the time to move forward From Guidelines to Implementation and to increase access to care in patients who need surgery or other forms of intervention.