Diabetes Treatments Now on the Horizon
Research news from the American Diabetes Association 73rd Scientific Sessions, June 21–25, 2013
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Oral Incretin Mimetic
The type 2 diabetes medications exenatide (Byetta, Bydureon) and liraglutide (Victoza) mimic a natural hormone (incretin) that lowers blood glucose and may help people lose weight, but the drugs must be injected. Researchers have developed an oral medication that targets the same receptors as the incretin hormone and is similar in effect to the injectable meds.
Fibroblast Growth Factor
Recently, researchers discovered a hormone—fibroblast growth factor 21—that regulates glucose and fat metabolism. They turned the hormone into a medication that lowered blood glucose levels and body weight in people with type 2 diabetes during a 28-day study. They also observed improvements in blood-fat levels and insulin sensitivity.
Amylin (Symlin) is an injectable hormone medication that, in addition to helping with blood glucose control, is associated with weight loss. Researchers have developed an oral medication based on a salmon protein that also targets the amylin receptor. Obese rats that were given the medication lost 10 percent more weight than those that didn't receive it.
Glucagon, part of the body's blood glucose control system, tells the liver to release glucose into the bloodstream as needed, but too much glucagon leads to undesirable high blood glucose. Researchers tested an oral medication that blocks the glucagon receptor—so glucagon in the body works less well—in people with type 2 diabetes. Over 24 weeks, the drug significantly lowered their blood glucose levels.
The artificial pancreas of the future may be managed via cell phone, according to a study that reported success with a combination pump, continuous glucose monitor, and smartphone. Most artificial pancreas prototypes are controlled by computers, so this is a big step in the direction of completing a portable closed-loop system.
Source: Diabetes Care, July 2013