There is no cure for type 2 diabetes right now, and even with the best practices and treatments, healthy glucose levels are hard to come by. Now researchers say they are working on a treatment that can potentially restore normal insulin activity and normalize blood sugar levels with a single injection . So far it works without adverse side effects, according to studies.

With type 1 diabetes , the body attacks the cells that make the hormone insulin to lower glucose, which is necessary to maintain blood sugar levels. People with type 2 diabetes can produce insulin , but the body does not respond to it properly and ends up resisting its effects – this is called insulin resistance or insensitivity to this element . At first, the pancreas copes with it by making more insulin, but over time, the pancreas stops making just enough. A group of drugs called thiazolidinediones can restore normal responses to insulin, but have side effects that range from bone erosion to build-up offat in the liver .

Thus, a large international team led by Michael Downes and Ronald Evans of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies investigated a promising protein called fibroblast growth factor 1 (FGF1) . Studies have suggested that FGF1 helps regulate insulin sensitivity, lowers glucose, and without side effects such as loss of bone mass and liver fat. The work was published in the journal Nature this week.

A single dose is enough to restore blood sugar levels to a healthy level for several days. Sustained treatment, with repeated injections over a month, reverses insulin resistance, restoring the body’s own ability to regulate blood sugar levels and even at those higher doses, FGF1 did not cause harmful side effects or cause glucose levels to plummet.

FGF1 was also found to work specifically with and through insulin despite being at lower glucose levels in diabetes, according to what was published in the journal The Conversation.

Shown below, fat-filled cells (in the form of small white spheres, -A-) that are prolific in liver tissue with type 2 diabetes. After repeated FGF1 injections, liver cells successfully lose fat and They absorb sugar from the blood (small purple spheres, -B-) and look more like non-diabetic cells.

The results are still preliminary, and the team has to find a way for FGF1 to exert its beneficial effects in an absolutely risk-free way. But if they can show that it can work without risk to humans, the protein has enormous therapeutic potential for many metabolic diseases characterized by insulin resistance. “Glucose control is a dominant problem in our society,” Evans says in a press release. “And FGF1 offers a new method of controlling glucose in a powerful and unexpected way.”

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *