New Drug Could Boost Diabetics’ Insulin Levels Naturally

By Carl Engelking | May 21, 2014 12:35 pm

diabetic blood test

Type 2 diabetes, the most common kind, results from too little insulin in the bloodstream, leading to high blood sugar levels and a host of other health problems. The disease is growing in prevalence and is intensive to manage—many diabetics do daily insulin injections and blood sugar testing—with fatal consequences if it’s left out of control.

Now scientists have opened the doorway to a new approach to diabetes treatment—rather than boosting insulin supply, instead slowing its disappearance—with the discovery of a molecule that inhibits insulin’s degradation. The discovery could bring new therapeutic treatments for diabetics.

Controlling Sugars

In the recent study scientists focused on the behavior of insulin-degrading enzyme (IDE), which, as its name implies, breaks down insulin. Because in type 2 diabetes insulin levels are too low, blocking IDE has been a therapeutic approach of interest in treating the disease.

Researchers sifted through more than 13,000 potential candidate molecules to find one, called 6bK, that bound to mouse IDE in a test tube. They then put 6bK to the test in live mice, some obese and some lean. The mice were given injections of the enzyme inhibitor and then an oral dose of glucose, simulating the sugar spike experienced after eating a meal.

The mice treated with 6bK showed increased insulin levels and improved glucose clearance, both of which are problems for diabetics. The findings were published today in Nature.

Future Treatments

The findings, researchers say, firmly establish IDE as a target of exploration among diabetes therapies. Researchers speculate that pre-meal medications that block IDE, rather than chronic treatments, could be developed based on the evidence presented in their study.

With a target firmly planted on the infamous enzyme, future studies can take aim at finding new ways to help more than 10 percent of the U.S. population living with diabetes.

 

Photo credit: bikeriderlondon/Shutterstock

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, top posts
  • Muhammad Safdar

    please tell me if the scientists have discovered medicines for that type treatment.

  • bob dickson

    can’t wait til they find it

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com Richard Brill

    Could limit or spare the needle. Hooray!

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

D-brief

Briefing you on the must-know news and trending topics in science and technology today.
ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »