Research breakthrough for type 2 Diabetes?

A new drug candidate developed by scientists at CSL has been shown to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes and reverse its progression in animal models of the disease as part of a collaboration with scientists at the University of Melbourne.

Professor Joe Proietto the coordinator for the Diabetes, Obesity and Endocrinology Research Domain at the University of Melbourne and a clinician at Austin Health says that this discovery represents an entirely new approach to the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

"The results generated through this international collaboration represent a major breakthrough and provide for a new way of thinking about the treatment of type 2 diabetes," said Professor Proietto.

The drug candidate blocks signalling by a protein known as Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor B (VEGF-B) and this prevents fat from accumulating in the "wrong" places, such as in muscles and in the heart. As a result, cells within these tissues are once again able to respond to insulin and blood glucose is restored to normal levels.

"There is a need for new treatment strategies for type 2 diabetes as existing treatments can cause adverse reactions and their effects can wear off". he said.

Recently published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature, the research is a joint effort by an international team led by Professor Ulf Eriksson from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, The University of Melbourne, scientists from CSL’s research laboratories in Melbourne and the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research.

Type 2 diabetes is normally preceded by insulin resistance, which is most often caused by obesity. When this happens, the cells no longer respond sufficiently to insulin, which leads to elevated levels of blood sugar.

Based on the latest findings, CSL is considering options for testing the theory in people with type 2 diabetes as well as those who are at-risk of developing the disease.