Exploiting Nature’s Weapons in the Fight Against Diabetes
Scientists at the University of Ulster are harnessing molecules produced naturally in the body to tackle one of the world’s major health problems - diabetes.
Their novel approach involves bioengineering gut peptides – molecules produced in the human intestine and released in response to feeding – to prolong their duration of action and, therefore, make them work more effectively.
The research by the internationally-recognised Diabetes Research Group at the University’s Coleraine campus could lead to the development of new therapies to combat Type 2 diabetes.
Findings of the Group’s research were presented recently to the Diabetes UK Annual Professional Conference in England.
In essence, the Group is exploring ways to make new therapies based on the architecture of gut peptide molecules. Using bioengineering technologies the scientists are able to produce long-acting molecules, which are not quickly degraded in the circulation, giving them more time to perform their tasks which include stimulation of insulin secretion and glucose metabolism as well as suppression of appetite.
The anticipated outcome is that these new bioengineered molecules will lower the blood glucose levels – the desired effect of any anti-diabetic drug.
Dr Victor Gault, a senior member of the Diabetes Research Group, said: “There are more than 150m reported cases of diabetes worldwide and, potentially, an equal number who remain undiagnosed. The incidence of diabetes is set to increase to 220m by 2010 with a predicted doubling in the number of reported cases within 20 years. In the US alone, the direct cost of treatment is more than $44bn, prompting a concerted research effort to find new ways to treat, cure and even prevent diabetes.
“Our research highlights the fact that perhaps nature knows best when it comes to regulating human metabolism and overcoming progressive disease processes.
“The onset and progression of Type 2 diabetes is closely associated with the increasing sedentary lifestyle of modern Western society which largely accounts for the huge rise in the incidence of obesity. The diverse range of important biological actions would support the view that bioengineered peptides may be particularly useful in the treatment of obesity-related diabetes.
“Traditionally therapies for Type 2 diabetes have focussed on single drug targets. In the future our bioengineered peptides could be used alone or together with insulin or other established anti-diabetic drugs, thus increasing the therapeutic arsenal of agents that can be used to combat diabetes”, Dr Gault added.
One of the bonuses of using natural molecules lies in the fact that they are generally better tolerated by the body than synthetically manufactured therapeutic agents.
David Young | University of Ulster
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
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:...
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...
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...
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...
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,...