Beta cell production increased by unique drug combination

A newly discovered combination of two drug classes that boosts beta cell production is an important step to seeking future type 1 diabetes treatment, researchers have said.

According to researchers, using a new combination of drugs allowed beta cell production to increase at around 5% to 6% per day.

A research team from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai say that by blending DYRK1A inhibitors and GLP-1 receptor agonists together, they are able to see rates of human beta cell replication sufficiently quick enough to replenish beta cell mass.

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the beta cells in the pancreas are destroyed, and approaches to treatment can and have included beta cell transplants. Adding in new cells can help manage blood sugar levels, although it is usually only a temporary solution. By using this drug combination, researchers hope the cells could be regenerated in someone with type 1 diabetes without the need for transplant.

Lead study author Dr Andrew Stewart, Director of the Mount Sinai Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism Institute, said: “We are very excited about this new drug combination because for the first time ever, we are able to see rates of human beta cell replication that are sufficient to replenish beta cell mass in humans with diabetes.”

Dr Dennis S. Charney, also from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, said: “This is a very exciting discovery in the field of diabetes and is a key next step in drug development for this disease. This important work truly holds promise for so many people.”

Courtney Ackeifi, Postdoctoral fellow from the Stewart Laboratory, whose PhD thesis at Icahn School of Medicine was the inspiration for the study, said: “The beauty here is that the combination of DYRK1A inhibitors with GLP1R agonists achieves the highest rate of human beta cell replication possible, and does so in a highly specific way.

“This is an important advance in the field of diabetes because we may have found a way to convert a widely used class of diabetes drugs into a potent human beta cell regenerative treatment for all forms of diabetes.”

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