Tulane University Medical Center, La.

My name is Vivian Fonseca. I am an endocrinologist at Tulane UniversityTulane University. Currently I'm serving as director of a national study to test the use of salsalate, an anti-inflammatory drug, as a treatment for type 2 diabetes. Salsalate, which dates back to the 1800s, has been used to treat rheumatoid arthritis for the past 40 years.

Because this drug has been used for so long in humans, it is known to be a safe treatment. The only question is -- how will it affect type 2 diabetes?

The idea of using salsalate came about only recently when we started to understand the connection between obesity and inflammation.

Recent research shows that a protein that triggers mild, body-wide inflammation is turned on when people carry excess weight. That inflammation, in turn, can cause insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Salsalate turns off the protein and may help relieve diabetes.

Tulane also is participating in other multi-site studies targeting diabetes, including the Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD) study, which is funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Institute on Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health.

People with type 2 diabetes die of cardiovascular disease at rates two to four times higher than those who do not have diabetes. They also experience more nonfatal heart attacks and strokes.

Cardiovascular risk factors being aggressively controlled in the ACCORD study include blood sugar levels, high blood pressure, high blood fats and insulin resistance (cholesterol and triglycerides).