Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Attacking Type 2 Diabetes from a New Direction with Encouraging Results

06.10.2014
A Rutgers researcher is developing a drug aimed at treating the root cause and reversing the disease

Type 2 diabetes affects an estimated 28 million Americans according to the American Diabetes Association, but medications now available only treat symptoms, not the root cause of the disease. New research from Rutgers shows promising evidence that a modified form of a different drug, niclosamide – now used to eliminate intestinal parasites – may hold the key to battling the disease at its source. 


Photo: Nick Romanenko/Rutgers University

Victor Shengkan Jin says it is important to find a drug for type 2 diabetes that attacks the root cause of the disease and not just symptoms.

The study, led by Victor Shengkan Jin, an associate professor of pharmacology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, has been published online by the journal Nature Medicine.

Jin says it is important to find a suitable medication to correct the cause of the disease as quickly as possible because the only way now known to “cure” the condition involves major gastric bypass surgery. “The surgery can only be performed on highly obese people,” Jin explains, “and carries significant risks that include death, so it is not a realistic solution for most patients.”   

And the number of patients continues to rise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projects that 40 percent of all Americans now alive will develop type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 is the form of diabetes once known as “adult onset,” in which the body produces insulin that ordinarily would keep blood sugar under control, but either it does not produce enough insulin or the body’s ability to use that insulin is degraded. 

According to Jin, a major cause of insulin resistance is the accumulation of excess fat in the cells of the liver, as well as in muscle tissue. The fat disrupts the process where, ordinarily, insulin would cause body tissues to correctly absorb glucose – blood sugar – and use it as a fuel. With nowhere else to go, much of the excess glucose remains in the bloodstream, where in high concentrations it can damage tissues throughout the body – potentially leading to blindness, kidney damage, cardiovascular diseases and other severe health problems.   

“Our goal in this study was to find a safe and practical way of diminishing fat content in the liver. We used mice to perform proof-of-principle experiments in our laboratory,” says Jin. “We succeeded in removing fat, and that in turn improved the animals’ ability to use insulin correctly and reduce blood sugar.”

The modified medication – whose full name is niclosamide ethanolamine salt (NEN) – burned the excess fat in liver cells through a process known as mitochondrial uncoupling. Mitochondria are the microscopic energy source for each cell in the body, and ordinarily – like a well-tuned car engine – they burn fuels including fats and sugars in modest quantities to keep the cells functioning. 

Revving up cells' internal engines to burn away harmful fat

“The cell is like a car and the mitochondria are the engine,” Jin explains. “What we’re doing inside cells is like putting the car’s transmission into neutral by uncoupling it from the transmission. Then you step on the gas so the engine runs full throttle but the car doesn’t move. If too much of the fuel in the cell is fat, you keep burning it until the fuel gauge reaches empty. Without the interference of fat, you hope that sugar will then enter the cell normally.” 

Getting rid of the interference of fat in liver and muscle tissue is the key to restoring the cells’ ability to respond to insulin properly, which would allow the right amount of sugar to be taken up by cells and ultimately reverse the diabetes entirely. That outcome is far from certain, but Jin says the positive changes he saw in the mice are encouraging.

Jin says it also is significant that the drug he used is a modified form of a medication that the FDA already approved for human use. That was a deliberate choice. “We wanted a safe and practical compound to deplete fat inside cells,” says Jin. “We went to the literature and found an approved drug that does in parasitic worms what we wanted to do in liver cells. The modified form of the medication, although itself is not a drug used in humans, has an excellent safety profile in other mammals – so very likely it would have a good safety profile in humans too."

Also, excess fat in the liver is not just a condition of the obese; people of normal weight can develop fatty livers and type 2 diabetes. Jin says this kind of medication, if shown to be effective, could safely treat patients of all weights.

Jin is cofounder of a company called Mito BioPharm, established in 2012, which has the exclusive right to use a patent owned by Rutgers to develop NEN for potential commercial use.

For more information, please contact Rob Forman of Rutgers Media Relations at robert.forman@rutgers.edu or 973-972-7276.

Rob Forman | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://news.rutgers.edu/research-news/attacking-type-2-diabetes-new-direction-encouraging-results/20141005#.VDJseWEcTct

Further reports about: Diabetes blood sugar liver liver cells muscle tissue sugar type 2 diabetes

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Speed data for the brain’s navigation system
06.12.2016 | Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen e.V. (DZNE)

nachricht Study suggests possible new target for treating and preventing Alzheimer's
02.12.2016 | Oregon Health & Science University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Simple processing technique could cut cost of organic PV and wearable electronics

06.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

3-D printed kidney phantoms aid nuclear medicine dosing calibration

06.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Robot on demand: Mobile machining of aircraft components with high precision

06.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>