Researchers at the Salk Institute have discovered how a hormone turns on a series of molecular switches inside the pancreas that increases the production of insulin. The finding, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, raises the possibility that new designer diabetes drugs might be able to turn on key molecules in this pathway to help the 80 million Americans who have type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetic insulin resistance.
The molecular switches command pancreatic beta islet cells, the cells responsible for insulin, to grow and multiply. Tweaking these cells might offer a solution to type 1 diabetes, the form of diabetes caused by destruction of islet cells, and to type II diabetes, the form caused by insulin resistance.
“By understanding how pancreatic cells can be encouraged to produce insulin in the most efficient way possible, we may be able to manipulate those cells to treat or even prevent diabetes,” says the study’s lead author, Marc Montminy, a professor in the Clayton Foundation Laboratories for Peptide Biology at Salk.
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More and more people are turning to the web for information on health issues, including diabetes. WebMD is one of the most highly respected sources of timely and trusted medical news and information on the web. The site’s Health A to Z section includes a comprehensive Diabetes Health Centre sub-section.
Aware that many people prefer to get their information in other ways rather than reading, WebMD has incorporated a number of alternative means of delivering information into their site, including interactive quizzes, tools such as a Food & Fitness Planner, and short documentary-style videos.
The diabetes-related videos feature real people in real life settings – diabetes patients, parents of diabetic children, researchers, and health care professionals. Currently, the site contains sixty diabetes videos on diverse topics, including:
- Basic diabetes information (type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes, diabetes diagnosis, diabetes control, diabetes medication…)
- Diabetes management (diet, foot care, glucose monitoring, A1C testing, hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia…)
- Diabetes in children (preschool, young children, adolescents…)
- Insulin delivery methods (insulin pumps, insulin inhalers, islet cells transplant…)
- Diabetes research and studies (diabetes vaccine, stem cells, investigational diabetes medications, glucose monitoring tattoo, cord blood study…)
- New diabetes treatments (islet cells transplant, continuous glucose monitors, botox for foot wounds, silicone eye oil for retinopathy…)
- Alternative diabetes treatment (vinegar for diabetes, antioxidants, hyperbaric oxygen, medicinal properties of kudzu…)
- Diabetes complications (foot ulcers, diabetic retinopathy, diabetic neuropathy, diabetes and depression, kidney disease…)
Should a topic be of particular interest, every video is surrounded by links to related in-depth information. To view a WebMD Diabetes Health Centre video on a study on the use of vinegar as a diabetes medication >CLICK HERE.<
The last decade has been an exciting time in diabetes research, with scientists approaching diabetes control from many different angles. Enter hydrogen sulfide, the foul smelling gas better known as “swamp gas”. It turns out the sewer-scented compound, a substance that occurs naturally in our bodies, may play an important role in protecting blood vessels from diabetic complications.
In a finding that they say “may open the door for new therapies”, researchers discovered that providing cells with high levels of hydrogen sulfide protected them against the toxic effects of sugar.
To read the full story on diabeticlive.com, a news publication focused on the latest research in diabetes drugs, diets, and medical advances, >CLICK HERE.<
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is informing the public that use of the diabetes medication Actos (pioglitazone) for more than one year may be associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer. Information about this risk will be added to the Warnings and Precautions section of the label for pioglitazone-containing medicines. The patient Medication Guide for these medicines will also be revised to include information on the risk of bladder cancer.
This safety information is based on FDA’s review of data from a planned five-year interim analysis of an ongoing, ten-year epidemiological study1, described in FDA’s September 2010 ongoing safety review and in the Data Summary. The five-year results showed that although there was no overall increased risk of bladder cancer with pioglitazone use, an increased risk of bladder cancer was noted among patients with the longest exposure to pioglitazone, and in those exposed to the highest cumulative dose of pioglitazone.
To read the Safety Announcement on the FDA website, >CLICK HERE.<
There are complex cause and effect relationships between sleep and diabetes. Poor sleep is considered a risk factor for diabetes, while diabetes is considered a contributor to poor sleep.
Sleep disorders such as insomnia, excessive snoring and obstructive sleep apnea are more common in people with type 2 diabetes. As a result, many diabetics don’t sleep as well as people without the disease.
Recently, researchers conducting a study titled Cross-Sectional Associations Between Measure Of Sleep And Markers Of Glucose Metabolism Among Persons With And Without Diabetes” monitored the sleep patterns of 40 type 2 diabetics over six nights. They were first interviewed about their normal sleeping patterns, and blood samples were taken to measure their glucose and insulin levels. Read the full article
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Type 1 diabetics given a recently approved type 2 diabetes medication in addition to their insulin therapy experienced a “dramatic change” in their health. They had more stable blood sugar levels, needed less insulin, and even lost an average ten pounds over six months.
The FDA approved Victoza as a once-daily injection to treat type 2 non insulin dependent diabetes in adults in early 2010. Although it is injected, Victoza is not a type of insulin. Victoza (generic name liraglutide) belongs to a new class of medications called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists.
GLP-1 receptor agonists mimic the action of a natural peptide which helps the pancreas to make more insulin after a meal. They also slow the absorption of sugar in the stomach, act as an appetite suppressant, and lower levels of glucagon, a hormone which counteracts the effect of insulin. Read the full article
The FDA has approved a new oral diabetes medication, Tradjenta (linagliptin) to help control blood glucose in type 2 diabetics. Tradjenta works by blocking the enzyme dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4), resulting in increased levels of hormones which stimulate the release of insulin after eating.
Tradjenta was tested in almost 4000 diabetics in eight separate double-blind clinical studies. It was studied both by as a stand-alone therapy, and in combination with other current diabetes medications such as glimepiride, pioglitazone, and metformin. It has not been tested along with insulin injections, and is not recommended for use by insulin dependent type 1 diabetics.
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Diabetes and obesity are closely linked, and many diabetics struggle to follow their doctor’s orders to lose weight. The biopharmaceutical company Vivus hopes to market an investigational new drug, Qnexa, as both a weight loss drug and a diabetes medication.
Qnexa is in phase 3 clinical trials to treat obesity, and in phase 2 clinical development for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea. The most recent clinical trial of Qnexa as a weight loss drug resulted in an average 10 percent weight loss in study participants.
Qnexa is a combination of the appetite suppressant phentermine, (best known as the “phen” in fen-phen, a controversial weight loss drug that was pulled off the market in 1997), and the anticonvulsant topiramate, prescribed to treat epilepsy and prevent migraine headaches. Read the full article
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A Canadian health sciences company focusing on innovative medical technology has successfully tested an organ-like device containing insulin producing islet cells in animals, and is pursuing FDA approval to conduct clinical trials in humans in 2011. There were no adverse side effects associated with the device during the study, during which the diabetic pigs receiving the insulin delivery system achieved long-term blood sugar control.
Sernova Corporation’s patented Cell Pouch System is implanted under the skin, where it develops into what the company refers to as “a tissue engineered pancreas” when infused with islet cells. The islet cells deliver insulin to the body, much as the islet cells of the pancreas do in people and animals without insulin dependent diabetes.
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Researchers have briefly “cured” Type 1 diabetes in lab mice using cells extracted from the testicles of deceased human donors. The spermatogonial cells used in the experiment normally produce sperm in men. Scientists extracted them from the donors, bioengineered them to act like the beta cells in the pancreas that produce human insulin, and transplanted them into mice. The transplanted cells successfully secreted insulin, reducing blood sugar levels in the mice for about a week.
While exciting, the breakthrough doesn’t yet amount to a cure for insulin dependent diabetes in humans. “These cells don’t secrete enough insulin to cure diabetes in humans yet,” cautions the study’s senior researcher G. Ian Gallicano, an associate professor at Georgetown University Medical Center. However, Gallicano is hopeful that transplanting the spermatogonial cells into different parts of the body may lead to longer blood sugar control. “We know spermatogonial stem cells have the potential to do what we want them to do,” says Gallicano, and we know how to improve their yield.”
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