Science Market Update

WUSTL Researchers Lower Blood Sugar Without Insulin

Posted by Sam Asher on Thu, Sep 10, 2015

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:

WashU  Funding


Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. visits Washington University in St. Louis each year for our St. Louis BioResearch Product Faire™ event, held on the WUSTL campus. This show is an excellent opportunity for life science scientists and laboratory equipment suppliers to network and discuss their research needs and solutions. Biotechnology Calendar is a full service event company that has produced on-campus, life science research trade shows nationwide for the past 20 years. We plan and promote each event to bring the best products and services to the finest research campuses across the country. If you can’t make the St. Louis BioResearch Product Faire™ event, not to worry: you can check our 2015 show schedule for an upcoming show in your area. 

Tags: WashU, Washington University in St. Louis, 2015, BioResearch Product Faire Event, MO, St Louis

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