For his groundbreaking work, Prof. Shlomo Sasson of the Hebrew University School of Pharmacy has been named one of the winners this year of the Hebrew University’s Kaye Innovation Awards.
Type 2 diabetes is a worldwide epidemic, predicted to affect over 380 million people within the next 20 years. This disease is characterized by high blood glucose levels that lead to severe complications in various organs and tissues. The disease usually results from insufficient secretion and function of the pancreatic hormone insulin that regulates glucose metabolism in peripheral tissues, such as skeletal muscles, fatty tissues and the liver.
Pharmacological anti-diabetic therapy aims at a strict regulation of blood glucose levels to prevent such complications. However, because current oral anti-diabetic drugs often fail, many patients need daily injections of insulin to control their glucose metabolism and reduce blood glucose levels.
The global diabetes therapy market is estimated at around US$26.3 billion in 2009. By 2013 the market is expected to grow to around US$34.5 billion.
Recent work on the molecular mechanisms that regulate glucose transport in skeletal muscles has identified new potential targets for anti-diabetic drugs.
In his research, Sasson, with his colleagues and students, made a unique discovery that high levels of the carbohydrate D-xylose increased the rate of glucose entry into skeletal muscle cells in a non-insulin-dependent manner. They then used it as a prototype molecule for the planning and synthesis of chemical derivatives that may act as potential drugs to lower blood glucose in type 2 diabetic patients.
Some of these derivatives increased significantly the rate of glucose transport in skeletal muscles at very low concentrations. This effect was not achieved by mimicking the classical pathway of insulin action, but by activating the enzyme AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). When activated, this enzyme increases the rate of glucose transport in skeletal muscles in the absence of insulin. Therefore, compounds that activate this enzyme can be effective in insulin resistant type 2 diabetic patients or in those that fail to respond to conventional drug therapy. This makes AMPK an extremely attractive target in the development of novel anti-diabetic drugs.
One of the lead compounds developed by Sasson and colleagues effectively reduced blood glucose levels in various animal models of diabetes. This discovery indicates the great potential of these novel derivatives to serve as the basis for development of new drugs to normalize blood glucose levels in diabetic patients.The Kaye Innovation Awards have been given annually since 1994. Isaac Kaye of England, a prominent industrialist in the pharmaceutical industry, established the awards to encourage faculty, staff and students of the Hebrew University to develop innovative methods and inventions with good commercial potential which will benefit the university and society. This year’s Kaye Awards were presented on June 9 during the Hebrew University Board of Governors meeting in Jerusalem.
Jerry Barach | Hebrew University of Jerusalem
The irresistible fragrance of dying vinegar flies
16.08.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie
How protein islands form
15.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
Researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, the Italian Space Agency (ASI), and the Instituto Geofisico--Escuela Politecnica Nacional (IGEPN) of Ecuador, showed an increasing volcanic danger on Cotopaxi in Ecuador using a powerful technique known as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR).
The Andes region in which Cotopaxi volcano is located is known to contain some of the world's most serious volcanic hazard. A mid- to large-size eruption has...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
16.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
16.08.2017 | Materials Sciences
16.08.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research