Dallas Cardiologist Specializing in Diabetes
Over the past 25 years, cardiologist Darren McGuire, M.D., M.H.Sc., has worked together with a small but powerful – and growing – group of clinical researchers around the world who have changed the landscape for diabetes patient care.
Today we know that people with Type 2 diabetes are twice as likely as other people to develop heart disease and stroke, but when Dr. McGuire began his career, there were no clinical studies showing how diabetes treatments affect heart disease and stroke.
“It was a complete desert for clinical outcomes data,” he recalls, noting that diabetes medications were judged solely on their ability to affect the levels of glucose in the blood. “We had no data that proved whether or not changing a person’s blood sugar level actually made that person live longer or feel better from a cardiovascular perspective.”
So he set out to change that. Dr. McGuire scoured the globe seeking people who had an interest in conducting large-scale, international clinical trials, like the work he was training to do while at the Duke Clinical Research Institute.
Through the resulting collaborations, these early efforts of Dr. McGuire and collaborators around the globe have taken the number of clinical outcomes trials for diabetes and heart disease from zero to more than 20 initiated over the past 10 years.
“We’ve had amazing success,” he says. “Until six months ago there was not a single positive cardiovascular clinical outcomes trial in the entire field of diabetes research. Now we have four different diabetes medications that have been statistically proven to improve patient outcomes in terms of heart attack, death, and stroke, all reported just since September 2015.”
Having a vibrant, leading-edge research program gives Dr. McGuire an advantage in offering the latest treatment strategies for diabetes patients in his cardiology clinic. His research proves that it’s valuable for patients with diabetes to see a cardiologist who specializes in diabetes.
“We can make nuanced distinctions about the medications we use for heart conditions – what might be more effective in patients with diabetes and whether those medications will affect the medications we may also be using for blood sugar control,” he says.
Dr. McGuire expects today’s clinical trials will continue to shape and reshape the future of diabetes treatment.
“It’s been a community effort,” he says of the groundbreaking research he has contributed to. “Our international group of clinical researchers has been working together for 20 years now – these are some of my best friends in the world, and we’re communicating back and forth regularly about how we can take the next step forward. To me, the future has never been more exciting.
“UT Southwestern’s motto is The future of medicine, today, and I like to think that’s what my patients get when they come to my clinic. It’s not just the goal; we’re actually generating the future of medicine in our research and clinical work – in my case, for patients with diabetes and heart disease.”