News / Health

Researchers Discover Protein Regulating Diabetics' Blood Sugar

Obesity is among the main causes of Type 2 diabetes.Obesity is among the main causes of Type 2 diabetes.
x
Obesity is among the main causes of Type 2 diabetes.
Obesity is among the main causes of Type 2 diabetes.
Jessica Berman

A single injection of a protein that keeps diabetics' blood sugar under control for several days could become available in the next few years. Researchers believe the discovery could signal a new generation of treatment for Type 2 diabetes, a disease that is skyrocketing around the world.

Scientists have known about the protein, called FGF1, for several decades. But researchers discovered the potential of the molecule, which is part of a family of so-called growth factors, when they injected it into mice that were engineered to have Type 2 - or adult-onset - diabetes.

The blood sugar levels of the experimental animals were restored to a healthy range for more than two days after a single injection.

Lowering blood sugar

In the adult-onset form of the disease, the body’s cells do not absorb sugar or glucose derived from food. FGF1 appears to resensitize the body to insulin, which transports glucose into the cells, normalizing blood sugar levels.  

But Ron Evans, an expert on endocrine-related diseases, stresses that FGF1 is not a cure for diabetes.

“So, as a result, the combination of FGF1 and the body’s insulin rebalances the equation and allows glucose to be controlled as if it was normal,” he said.

Current treatments for Type 2 diabetes are aimed at boosting the body’s production of insulin in order to lower glucose levels in the blood. But they can have serious side effects.

FGF1 treatment

If and when regulators approve FGF1 for the treatment of diabetes, it would have to be injected like insulin every other day. Evans and his colleagues at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies are looking into formulating a longer-acting form of the protein.
 
Worldwide, adult onset diabetes has reached epidemic proportions as carbohydrate-rich foods, particularly fast foods, have become readily available.  Excess weight and inactivity usually trigger the disease.  

Evans is excited about the prospect of a new treatment for diabetes.

“It is exciting because it is a new role for an old molecule. And it just shows you that there is a lot to be learned and it is a lesson, because after 30 years to find what may be the true function of this molecule came as a surprise. No one was looking for this,” he said.

Salk researchers report their findings in the journal Nature. Evans thinks clinical trials of FGF1, which he said are safe, likely will begin in 12 to 18 months.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid