Based in Dauphin, Manitoba, SciMar is on track to change the course of human health.
In 1991 Dr. Wayne Lautt discovered hepatic insulin-sensitizing substance, or the HISS hormone, while conducting experiments on the liver.
Today, the hormone is known as hepatalin.
From there, years of research took place before SciMar Ltd. was founded in 2009 when Dr. Lautt and his team concluded that hepatalin had a significant impact on type 2 diabetes and metabolic health.
To fully grasp this breakthrough, we must first understand what the SciMar team has brought to life; Mick Lautt, CEO of SciMar, takes us through the advancement his father uncovered:
"The science can be explained through the concept of nutrient partitioning, and that is when you eat a meal, the excess glucose in the blood can be stored either as fat or as muscle. So when we're healthy and young, then you have a nice balance between the actions of insulin and hepatalin. So, insulin from the pancreas and hepatalin from the liver. But as we age and eat a high refined sugar diet and don't get a lot of exercise and deal with stress in a chronic way, we lose the ability to release hepatalin. And so, the body is compensating with increased insulin action. The problem is that insulin does a lot of the work of nutrient partitioning by storing glucose as fat, whereas hepatalin is doing that work by storing it as muscle. So, you can see the problem over time. You move towards being a type 2 diabetic and all the chronic diseases associated with that. That's a significant breakthrough." Mr. Lautt continued, "So, this is a game-changer for us. Our job now is to keep the ball rolling, keep moving forward. Keep understanding what we found. What are the implications of it? Create a suite of products that can detect, prevent, and treat therapeutically the problem at the core, which is the lack of hepatalin. What we've discovered is that type 2 diabetics, they don't have a problem producing insulin; they have a problem producing hepatalin."
The SciMar team has started trials on multiple products involving hepatalin that are currently being clinically tested or soon to be on the market.
Product one: "SciMar NuPa Test" assesses one's ability to produce hepatalin and properly partition nutrients. This at-home test involves drinking a specially formulated shake and then measuring the body's response. When hepatalin production is shown to be inadequate, appropriate interventions can be considered.
Product two: "SciMar NuPa Daily" is a supplement, available without a prescription, that protects the production of hepatalin, thereby supporting metabolic health. Sold at nupa.com, SciMar NuPa Daily is available only in the U.S. for now. It will launch in Canada in 2022.
Product three: "SciMar NuPa Renew" is for people already diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes. This pharmaceutical drug will activate the production of hepatalin in the first 90 minutes after a meal is consumed. For some people, SciMar NuPa Renew will reverse type 2 diabetes by addressing the underlying biological conditions that led to it. This product is currently in trials and is expected to hit the market in two or three years.
Product four: Hepatalin-S is a synthetic version of naturally occurring hepatalin. This will be a therapeutic treatment for people with advanced type 2 diabetes. SciMar envisions that Hepatalin-S would be used in combination with insulin for a more complete and effective treatment program.
Mick Lautt understands some may be skeptical of this breakthrough:
"We're often asked if we're making a magic pill to solve a lifestyle problem and allow people to continue to engage in behaviours that aren't healthy. Yes, on one level, but it's really important for us to use this platform to encourage lifestyle change. We know that you can fix type 2 diabetes just by lifestyle. So, you don't actually need medication. If you change your diet, get active, deal with your mental health, and minimize the amount of pollution and insults in your environment and all those that impact our bodies and minds, we can fix it, and we know people who have done it. They've been on full medications, insulin injections, pills, and they've been able to fix it and get off and really get their health under control. That's fantastic, and we encourage that. And that's what we want to see."
SciMar’s CEO knows that lifestyle change can be complicated and sometimes out of a person's control:
"However, we also recognized that those behaviours are really difficult to change. And for some people, they're more difficult than others, depending on where you're living—the location, what's happened in your family, food security. There are a lot of things that people can't control. And there are things people can control. They're fighting a lot of addictions and other things. In the meantime, while people struggle to make changes in their lives, we want to provide them with a suite of products that can help. That's why we have an early diagnostic screening tool that can measure health and help people measure the effect of lifestyle interventions. We have a preventive that people can get on now to prevent them from progressing further while making those changes. And then we have a therapeutic for those who are currently sick; they need some kind of treatment right now. Our therapeutic is about staunching the bleeding for this generation of sick people and encouraging people to make lifestyle change." Lautt carried on, "So we don't have another generation, whether it's the next generation or the one after that, that is drug-dependent. So, our goal is to eradicate type 2 diabetes through novel science. As we do that, people need support. Eventually, I would love to put ourselves out of business in 30/40 years when no one needs our therapeutic because type 2 diabetes isn't a problem anymore. So our job right now is to help people with where they are at. And help them as they move forward to be as healthy as they can be."
Rates of type 2 diabetes and the conditions that lead to it—especially obesity—are skyrocketing everywhere. We are moving towards 650 million people around the globe developing diabetes, with Diabetes Canada saying about $75 million is spent each day on diabetes-related problems in Canada.
The current model for preventing and treating type 2 diabetes is not working, but with SciMar's help right here in Manitoba, there is hope for a brighter future for people living with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes everywhere.
To learn more, visit SciMar.ca.