NEW DRUG MAY LEAD TO ONE-STOP DIABETES PILL

Discussion in 'Health and medical' started by Dr. Jai Maharaj, Jul 19, 2003.

  1. New drug may lead to one-stop diabetes pill

    The Times of India
    Friday, July 18, 2003

    Washington (Reuters) - Researchers said on Thursday they
    had found a new class of drugs that might attack diabetes
    on more than one front -- and that could be taken as a
    pill.

    They have only tested the drugs in rats and mice so far,
    meaning years of development are needed, but said the
    medications could offer an alternative to some of the
    drugs that many diabetes patients must take. ''At this
    point in time, this type of drug will not allow us to
    replace insulin,'' cautioned Joseph Grippo, a vice-
    president at Roche who led the research.

    ''We are targeting type-II diabetes populations before
    they get to insulin,'' Grippo said.

    Patients with type II diabetes make too little insulin
    and have too much glucose in their systems. The new
    compound stimulates the pancreas to release more insulin
    and keeps the liver from producing too much glucose.
    Diabetes patients often take two drugs for this --
    sulfonylureas and metformin.

    Type-II diabetes, which affects an estimated 135 million
    people worldwide, often requires a range of drugs to be
    kept under control.

    Roche's drug is a glucokinase enzyme activator. It acts
    on GK, an enzyme that diabetes researchers have known
    about for years.

    ''The glucokinase enzyme is the body's first step in
    breaking down or metabolizing glucose,'' Grippo said.
    ''When the enzyme is functioning normally, GK helps the
    body maintain glucose levels by controlling the release
    of insulin from the pancreas as well as the disposal of
    glucose in the liver.''

    In 1992 researchers discovered a mutation in the GK gene
    caused a certain type of diabetes called maturity onset
    diabetes of the young type 2. Grippo said it did not seem
    like a good target for a drug.

    ''In order to make it effective you have to activate the
    enzyme. Most drugs inhibit enzymes,'' Grippo said. Roche
    scientists found a compound that seemed like it would
    activate GK. They hope to start human trials within a
    year.

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    http://www.timesofindia.com

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