Dr. Miles Brennan of the Eleanor Roosevelt Institute at the University of Denver (ERI) and Dr. Ute Hochgeschwender of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation have patented a method of reducing insulin resistance that could lead to potential treatments for diabetes accompanying obesity.
Insulin is a hormone that prompts cells to store glucose, a natural sugar, while another hormone called glucagon has the opposite effect, prompting cells to release stored glucose into the bloodstream. In healthy individuals the two hormones achieve homeostasis, or balance. Type II diabetes occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin, preventing it from storing glucose. Because melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH) causes the pancreas to secrete glucagon, MSH must be present for type II diabetes to develop. Obesity and high cholesterol are risk factors for the disease, which leads to high blood pressure, strokes, heart attacks, blindness, kidney failure and possible amputation of the lower extremities.
The new process, which is described in U.S. Patent #6,689,938, is for treatment of diabetes by administering an antagonist of MSH. The patent covers the use of a whole class of MSH antagonists, chemicals that either remove the hormone from the system or which block the action of MSH in the bloodstream.
Warren Smith | EurekAlert!
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