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Dr. Daniel Drucker

Location: Toronto, ON

Award: Principal Award

Category: Medical

Year: 2018

Innovation:

Discovery and development GLP-2 therapies

The discovery of GLP-2 therapy has revolutionized Short Bowel Syndrome (SBS) patient care, with a profound impact on those living with the disorder, their families and the physicians who care for them.

According to the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation, more than 20 million Canadians suffer from digestive disorders every year. Those diagnosed with Short Bowel Syndrome, a complex malabsorption disorder, struggle to absorb enough nutrients, often leading to dehydration, malnutrition, inadvertent weight loss, and in some cases debilitating and life-threatening complications.

Unfortunately, there is no cure, and despite many attempts at treatment, most have been unsuccessful. At least this was the case before Dr. Daniel Drucker’s bench to bedside drug development success story.

By 1995, Dr. Drucker had been studying glucagon-related hormones for more than a decade. At this time, he discovered that GLP-2 promoted gut growth and nutrient absorption. He saw the potential to help those living with intestinal disorders, and so set out to explore the possibility.

Further research enabled the development and commercialization of a GLP-2 analogue, teduglutide, the first therapy approved for long-term use for people living with short bowel syndrome, and the only new SBS treatment to be commercialized in the last 40 years. In clinical trials, teduglutide enhanced energy and fluid absorption, while decreasing malabsorption and the requirements for regular intravenous feeding for those suffering from chronic SBS.

Thanks to Dr. Drucker’s persistence in advancing his discovery from basic science to a commercialized drug in just 16 years, thousands of individuals living with SBS across Canada, the United States and the European Union have an improved quality of life and, in some cases, complete freedom from feeding by intravenous nutrition.

Beyond SBS, further treatment opportunities for GLP-2 are being explored today, with promising results. Dr. Drucker remains deeply invested in understanding hormone action and is continuously working on improving patient care through significant scientific contributions.