November 25, 2013
JC Med, a start-up company, is beginning operations to produce insulin resistance supplements and to developent a first-of-its-kind, in-home insulin resistance meter in one of the NC Research Campus’ ready-to-go laboratories. Watch the video to learn more.
The equipment is installed, the supplies have arrived and Wenhong Cao, MD, founder of JC Med, LLC, is open for business in the first ready-to-go laboratory suite at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis.
Cao, who is also a research associate professor in nutrition with the UNC Chapel Hill Nutrition Research Institute, leased 500 square feet of the 1,500 square foot laboratory suite on the third floor of the David H. Murdock Core Laboratory building.
“For me, it is very convenient. I do my research in one building, and the company is in other building with the core lab facilities,” Cao said. “It is very useful because we have to do some product tests. I’m able to collaborate, and pay for the services I need. I can get everything done conveniently right on campus.”
Cao, who has spent the majority of his career researching obesity and diabetes, is ramping up operations to produce, according to good manufacturing practice standards, up to 300,000 bottles a year of a dietary supplement to prevent insulin resistance. The supplements will be sold in China through his distribution partner, Shanghai Ideal Biotechnology, LLC. Over 20,000 bottles have already pre-sold, and the company has two roll-out conferences planned at the end of December in China. The profits from the supplements will fund the continued development of a first-of-its-kind, home test for insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance or hyperglycemia is a condition where the body does not use the hormone insulin efficiently. As part of digestion, insulin is released from the pancreas to break down carbohydrates and fats in foods, and convert them to glucose. Insulin also assists cells in the absorption of glucose, which is an energy source. When the human body can no longer produce enough or absorb it efficiently, insulin resistance can result. For many, insulin resistance is a precursor to diabetes and a factor in the development of diseases like Alzheimer’s, fatty liver and other metabolic disorders.
“No one is treating insulin resistance,” Cao emphasized. “Insulin resistance is evident up to 15 years before progressing to diabetes or any other disease. So there is a large window of time to make dietary changes, increase exercise or take supplements or some type of medication. By the time you have diabetes, the damage is done, and you can only manage it. There is no cure.”
Cao’s meter will be similar to a glucose meter for diabetes, but it will test for a specific hormone that indicates the amount of insulin in the blood. Cao is in the process of having the meter and test strip designed. He is looking ahead to clinical trials and, one day, US Food and Drug Administration approval. He plans for the meter to be available at neighborhood drug stores so that people can easily track their results and work with a doctor to determine how well their body is producing and using insulin.
Today, insulin resistance test are only available through a doctor or hospital, but, said Cao, “Who has time for that? With this test you know right away.” That is why he named the meter Just It. “Because,” he said, “it is just what people need to prevent potentially devastating diseases.”
Cao will be joined in the ready-to-go laboratory suite by General Mills and Carolinas Medical Center. Two additional ready-to-go laboratory suites are under construction on the third floor of the NC Research Campus’ core laboratory building and are already 80 percent committed.