A brand new type of diabetes medication has performed strongly in phase II clinical trials.
ISIS-GCGR(Rx) is an antisense inhibitor drug produced by Californian company, Isis Pharmaceuticals. The drug works by targeting glucagon receptor GCCR and inhibiting the action of the hormone glucagon. Glucagon is the hormone which signals the liver to produce stored sugar (glycogen) and to raise blood glucose levels.
In phase II clinical trials, 75 patients, with type 2 diabetes that were not experiencing adequate control on metformin alone, were recruited for the study. Participants in the trials started with an average HbA1c of 8.7% and were randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups. Participants received either the ISIS-GCGR(Rx) at doses of 200mg or doses of 100mg or to instead receive a placebo pill.
The study ran for 13 weeks and showed a reduction in HbA1c of over 2% for the 200mg dose compared with placebo and a reduction of over 1% for the 100mg dose.
The researchers noted further positive results in that neither blood pressure nor cholesterol levels showed any significant increase. An additional observation made was that levels of GLP-1 were increased in participants taking the new treatment. GLP-1 is the hormone which drugs such as Byetta and Victoza are based upon.
The drug could present another option for people that are currently experiencing difficulty controlling their blood glucose levels on metformin. However, phase 3 trials into safety and effectiveness will need to be run and passed, which will take a number of years, before the drug can be available for public use.

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