Tag Archives: treatment

Innovative treatment prevents development of diabetes

Diabetes News

Newswise — Researchers from the Liston lab, at the Babraham Institute, have recently published a preventative therapeutic for diabetes in mice. The team has been able to prevent diabetes in mice by manipulating signalling pathways in pancreatic cells to prevent stress-induced cell death. The treatment targets a pathway common to both major types of diabetes and therefore could have huge therapeutic potential once translated into a clinical treatment.

Dr Kailsah Singh, former research fellow in the Liston lab, described their findings: “Our results show that MANF could prevent the beta cell damage by preventing the inflammation in islets, which is a hallmark of type 1 diabetes.”

For over 35 years there have been failed attempts to prevent type 1 diabetes development. Previous approaches have sought to target the autoimmune nature of the disease, but Dr Adrian Liston, senior Group Leader in the Immunology research programme, wanted to investigate if there was more causing the deterioration in later stages than just the immune response.

The Liston lab sought to understand the role of cell death in the development of diabetes and therefore approached this problem by identifying the pathways that decide whether stressed insulin-producing cells of the pancreas live or die, and therefore determine the development of disease.

Their hope was to find a way to stop this stress-related death, preventing the decline into diabetes without the need to focus solely on the immune system. First, the researchers had to know which pathways would influence the decision of life or death for the beta cell. In previous research, they were able to identify Manf as a protective protein against stress induced cell death, and Glis3 which sets the level of Manf in the cells. While type 1 and 2 diabetes in patients usually have different causes and different genetics, the GLIS3-MANF pathway is a common feature for both conditions and therefore an attractive target for treatments.

In order to manipulate the Manf pathway, the researchers developed a gene delivery system based on a modified virus known as an AAV gene delivery system. The AAV targets beta cells, and allows these cells to make more of the pro-survival protein Manf, tipping the life-or-death decision in favour of continued survival. To test their treatment, the researchers treated mice susceptible to spontaneous development of autoimmune diabetes. Treating pre-diabetic mice resulted in a lower rate of diabetes development from 58% to 18%. This research in mice is a key first step in the development of treatments for human patients.

“A key advantage of targeting this particular pathway is the high likelihood that it works in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes”, explains Dr Adrian Liston. “In type 2 diabetes, while the initial problem is insulin-insensitivity in the liver, most of the severe complications arise in patients where the beta cells of the pancreas have been chronically stressed by the need to make more and more insulin. By treating early type 2 diabetes with this approach, or a similar one, we have the potential to block progression to the major adverse events in late-stage type 2 diabetes.”

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Common diabetes drug may serve as novel Afib treatment –

Diabetes News
Close Up Of Pills Pouring Out Of A Prescription Medication Bottle; Image credit: Getty Images

Close Up Of Pills Pouring Out Of A Prescription Medication Bottle; Image credit: Getty Images

The common diabetes drug metformin may be a treatment for atrial fibrillation (Afib), a new study has found. If approved, it would be the first new drug identified to treat this disease of the heart in a decade, according to Cleveland Clinic researchers.

Investigators discovered the drug’s potential in a larger study looking for drugs to repurpose. Genetic sequencing and advanced computation helped to determine that metformin targets 30 genes that are associated with Afib, the investigators wrote in Cell Reports Medicine.

Afib is the most common cause of irregular and rapid heart rhythms (arrhythmia). It can lead to blood clots in the heart and an increased risk of complications including stroke and heart failure.

Past treatments have been directed toward preventing the arrhythmia, with drugs that target the electrical system, including ion channels in the heart. Catheter ablation is also used to isolate the pulmonary veins where initiating beats of atrial fibrillation occur. But these approaches may be limited due to complications and limited success, the researchers noted. 

Advantage of a repurposed drug

Although a new indication for metformin would require testing, the fact that it is already federally approved for use will shave years off the testing time frame, the researchers said.

“We can cut off 10-plus years in the drug development pipeline. We already have the information there. We just have to test it in a very computationally efficient way, such as artificial intelligence technology,” Feixiong Cheng, PhD, said.

The study is connected to a $14.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to investigate new atrial fibrillation treatments using genomic data.

Related articles:

Seniors may suffer in silence with atypical Afib symptoms, study finds

Falls, disability in seniors with Afib tied to lower anticoagulant use

Newer blood thinners surpass warfarin for treating seniors with Afib and prior stroke

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