A rational approach to tackling diabetes using life science research is to focus on insulin. We’ve seen a research team at Emory University transplant insulin-producing cells, and we’ve reported on an Urbana-Champaign team trying to release insulin in patients’ cells. Now researchers at Washington University at St. Louis are taking a new approach by directly reducing blood sugar without the use of insulin.
Brian Finck (image left, courtesy WUSTL) believes that rather than rely on insulin to lower blood sugar in patients with diabetes, it’s easier to cut out the middle man and reduce glucose levels using genetics. He and fellow WUSTL professor Kyle McCommis found that shutting down a particular liver protein dramatically reduced glucose production in the liver.
“We think this strategy could lead to more effective drugs for type 2 diabetes,” says Finck, who is an associate professor of medicine in the Division of Geriatrics and Nutritional Science. “A drug that shuts down glucose production has the potential to help millions of people affected by the most common form of diabetes.”
(Brian N. Finck, PhD (left), and Kyle S. McCommis, PhD analyze blood sugar levels to evaluate their new strategy. Image courtesy WUSTL)
The team has already initiated clinical trials using the drug compound MSDC-0602. So far, the drugs have been successful in inhibiting the protein and reducing blood sugar levels. Dr. Finck is working with the biopharmaceutical company Metabolic Solutions Development Co. to facilitate production of the drug.
Funding for this research came from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health as well as the Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital and the Robert A.Welch Foundation. For additional information about funding for research at Washington University in St. Louis, read our free WUSTL Funding Statistics Report, available via the link below:Read More