Friday February 23, 2018

Diabetes would become a curable disease in the next few years, say researchers

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Washington: Although the way diabetics test their glucose levels has gone through dramatic changes over the past 50 years, there is still a long way to go, say researchers.

Earlier, the only way to assess diabetes control was by testing for the presence of sugar in a person’s urine, today there are numerous, far more accurate ways to test blood glucose levels.

There is a non-invasive A1C method which measures average blood glucose levels over a three-month period.

“This gives us a nice marker for showing whether a person is on the right road or not,” said Fred Whitehouse, division head emeritus at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit.

“There has been a lot of change, most of it for the better. But what people want is a cure and we don’t have that yet”, he added.

“Despite the enormous growth in our understanding of diabetes and its complications, we are still only able to manage the disease,” noted Robert Ratner, Chief Scientific and Medical Officer for the American Diabetes Association.

The reason diabetes is a serious health problem is because of the complications.

“If there were no complications, diabetes would be like hypothyroidism and other easily managed diseases. You would take a tablet to replace the hormone and everything would be fine,” said Michael Brownlee from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s Diabetes Research Centre.

New treatments must provide optimal glucose and metabolic control without the risk of hypoglycemia and complications of diabetes should become historical memories.

Also, every person with diabetes needs to create a system for remembering and dealing with his or her own treatment.

“The next 50 years must elucidate the mechanisms by which both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes occur, along with those critical steps at which we might intervene to prevent disease,” the authors emphasized during a special symposium held recently at the American Diabetes Association’s 75th scientific sessions. (IANS)

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Common BP Drug May Prevent Onset Of Type 1 Diabetes

For the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the team used a supercomputer, on the lab bench, in mice, and in humans

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Type 1 Diabetes

A drug commonly used to control high blood pressure may be also effective in preventing the onset of Type 1 diabetes in up to 60 percent of those at risk, researchers say.

The drug, methyldopa, has been used for over 50 years to treat high blood pressure in pregnant women and children and is also on the World Health Organization’s list of essential drugs.

Methyldopa was found to block a molecule called DQ8 — found in some 60 percent at the risk of getting Type 1 diabetes — which significantly increases the chance of getting the disease.

Blocking specifically the DQ8 molecule could also block the onset of the disease, the study found.

 

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“This is the first personalized treatment for Type 1 diabetes prevention,” said Aaron Michels, Associate Professor of medicine at University of Colorado – Anschutz.

“With this drug, we can potentially prevent up to 60 percent of Type 1 diabetes in those at the risk for the disease. This is very significant development,” Michels added.

Type 1 Diabetes

For the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the team used a supercomputer, on the lab bench, in mice, and in humans.

They found that methyldopa not only blocked DQ8, but it did not also harm the immune function of other cells like many immunosuppressant drugs do.

ALSO READ: Diabetes can hamper your reproductive health

“We can now predict with almost 100 percent accuracy who is likely to get Type 1 diabetes. The goal, with this drug, is to delay or prevent the onset of the disease among those at risk,” Michels said.

The drug is taken orally, three times a day.

Besides, diabetes, the same approach of blocking specific molecules can be used in other autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, coeliac disease, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus and others, the researchers noted. (IANS)

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