Drug offers new approach for type 2 diabetes treatment

Tue, 02 Oct 2012
Scientists in Australia have developed a new anti-diabetic drug candidate that can not only prevent but also reverse the progression of type 2 diabetes in mice.

Experts at -based CSL Limited say they have developed an antibody called 2H10 that has been shown to block signalling by a protein known as Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor B (VEGF-B), which helps stop fat accumulating in damaging places such as the heart and muscles. This allows cells within these tissues to continue to respond sufficiently to insulin and thus keep blood glucose at normal levels.

In one study, the drug treatment was able to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes in mice bred to develop diabetes, while in two other studies, it managed to successfully halt the progression of the disease in mice and rats that had developed obesity and type 2 diabetes as a result of a fat-rich diet .

The scientists, who were led by Professor Ulf Eriksson from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, said the findings represent an entirely new way of thinking about the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

While the best available diabetes drugs work by increasing fat cells in the body to reduce fat storage in muscles, 2H10 prevents fat from entering muscles in the first place, Professor Joe Proietto, diabetes expert and professor of medicine at the University of Melbourne, explained.

"The exciting thing about this is that it's targeting the main cause of insulin resistance � and that is too much fat inside muscles,'' he commented.

Dr Andrew Nash, Senior Vice President of Research at CSL, said: "The results seen in these laboratory studies are very promising for the millions of people around the world who are affected by type 2 diabetes ."

"We are very hopeful that the antibody-based drug that we have developed and tested together with Professor Eriksson will ultimately lead to a new treatment option for people with diabetes ."

Dr Nash said he hoped that human trials of the drug would begin within the next two years.
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