Breakthrough for new diabetes treatmentSeptember 28, 2012
In experiments on mice and rats, the scientists have managed to both prevent the development of type II diabetes and reverse the progression of established disease. The study is published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature, where it is described as a breakthrough in diabetes research. The findings are the result of a joint effort by Karolinska Institutet, the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and the Australian biopharmaceutical company CSL Limited, amongst others.
"It's a great feeling to present these results," says Professor Ulf Eriksson of the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics at Karolinska Institutet. "We discovered VEGF-B back in 1995, and since then the VEGF-B project has been a lengthy sojourn in the wilderness, but now we're making one important discovery after the other. In this present study we've shown that VEGF-B inhibition can be used to prevent and treat type II diabetes, and that this can be done with a drug candidate."
Type II diabetes is normally preceded by insulin resistance caused by obesity. When this happens, the cells no longer respond sufficiently to insulin, which leads to elevated levels of blood sugar. Insulin resistance is related to the storage of fat in the 'wrong' places, such as the muscles, blood vessels and heart, although exactly how this relationship works is not fully known.
What scientists do know, however, is that the VEGF-B protein affects the transport and storage of fat in body tissue. This was discovered by Professor Ulf Eriksson's research group in a study published in Nature in 2010. These theories have now been developed for a new study in which VEGF-B signalling was blocked in a group of diabetic mice and rats.
A total of four related studies are reported in the Nature paper. In one case, mice bred to spontaneously develop diabetes were given a drug candidate called 2H10, which is an antibody that blocks the effect of VEGF-B. The mice subsequently developed neither insulin resistance, nor diabetes. The team also crossed the diabetes strain of mice with one that lacked the ability to produce VEGF-B, and found that the offspring were protected from developing the disease.
In another two studies, the scientists took normal mice and rats that had not been specially bread to develop type II diabetes, and left them to develop the disease as a result of a fat-rich diet and the resulting obesity. In these cases, progression of the established disease was halted and reversed to varying degrees after treatment with 2H10.
"The results we present in this study represent a major breakthrough and an entirely new principle for the prevention and treatment of type II diabetes," says Professor Ĺke Sjöholm, consultant in diabetology at Stockholm South General Hospital. "Existing treatments can cause many adverse reactions and their effects normally wear off. There is a desperate need for new treatment strategies for type II diabetes."
Current treatments for type II diabetes normally involve initial dietary measures and/or pills designed to boost insulin secretion and sensitivity or to reduce glucose production. After a few years, such treatments eventually prove inadequate for up to 30 per cent of patients, who then require insulin injections. Type II diabetes is reaching epidemic proportions, and according to the World Health Organisation, is expected to afflict over half a billion people by 2030.
The drug candidate used in the study, 2H10, is a monoclonal antibody and is being developed by the biopharmaceutical company CSL Limited. Scientists from CSL contributed to the work and the company co-funded the study. Funding was also supplied by the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, the Frans Wilhelm and Waldemar von Frenckell Fund, the Wilhelm and Else Stockmann Foundation, the Novo Nordisk Foundation, the Swedish Cancer Society, the Swedish Research Council, the Torsten and Ragnar Söderberg Foundations, the Research Foundation of the Swedish Diabetes Association (Diabetesfonden), the Peter Wallenberg Foundation for Economics and Technology, and the Swedish Heart-Lung Foundation.
Earlier this year, Professor Eriksson was awarded the Heart-Lung Foundation's grand research grant of SEK 15 million (about 1.7 million / $ 2.3 million) the largest in Sweden in the field of cardiovascular disease. The grant will be used to finance further research into VEGF-B.
Related Diabetes Current Events and Diabetes News Articles
Young women with a heart attack continue to fare worse than men
While awareness campaigns may be getting women to go to the hospital more quickly during a heart-attack, a new look at hospital data shows women have longer hospital stays and are more likely than men to die in the hospital after a heart attack.
Overcoming barriers to physical activity for African-American women
According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately four out of five black women are overweight or obese and 36 percent meet physical activity objectives as determined by the CDC. That's compared to 50 percent of white women meeting the same objectives.
New material puts a twist in light
Scientists at The Australian National University (ANU) have uncovered the secret to twisting light at will.
Consuming probiotics for a month helps diminish fat accumulation in the liver, new study says
Spanish scientists have demonstrated through an experiment on obese rats that the consumption of probiotics during thirty days helps diminish the accumulation of fat in the liver.
New gene discovered that stops the spread of deadly cancer
Scientists at the Salk Institute have identified a gene responsible for stopping the movement of cancer from the lungs to other parts of the body, indicating a new way to fight one of the world's deadliest cancers.
Incidence of stroke in the elderly has dropped by 40 percent over the last 20 years
A new analysis of data from 1988-2008 has revealed a 40% decrease in the incidence of stroke in Medicare patients 65 years of age and older.
Lipoic acid helps restore, synchronize the "biological clock"
Researchers have discovered a possible explanation for the surprisingly large range of biological effects that are linked to a micronutrient called lipoic acid: It appears to reset and synchronize circadian rhythms, or the "biological clock" found in most life forms.
Weight Management Program Also Reduces Depression Among Black Women
An intervention program aimed at helping obese women maintain their weight without adding pounds also significantly reduced depression in nearly half the participants, according to a new study from Duke University.
Cholesterol-lowering drugs may reduce cardiovascular death in Type 2 diabetes
Heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death and disability among people with Type 2 diabetes.
National Psoriasis Foundation awards more than $1 million in psoriatic disease research grants
Thirteen scientists received a total of $1.05 million in funding from the National Psoriasis Foundation for projects that aim to identify new treatments and a cure for psoriasis-an autoimmune disease that appears on the skin, affecting 7.5 million Americans-and psoriatic arthritis-an inflammatory type of arthritis that affects the joints and tendons, occuring in up to 30 percent of people with psoriasis.
More Diabetes Current Events and Diabetes News Articles