Blood Pressure Drug Verapamil May Reverse Type 1 Diabetes; Human Trials To Begin Next Year
It’s really expensive for pharmaceutical companies to develop a single new drug. According to Forbes, it can cost anywhere from $1.3 billion to $5 billion. Because of this, it makes drug companies very happy when they discover one of their drugs can be used for other health conditions — after all, more people treated means more money in executive’s pockets. Well, a case like this was just discovered. Researchers from the University of Alabama, Birmingham, found that the common blood pressure drug verapamil completely reversed type 1 diabetes in mice, and they expect to test the drug on humans next year.
Type 1 diabetes is the less-common form of the disease, comprising only five percent of those diagnosed with diabetes, and mostly appearing in kids and young adults. Nevertheless, it’s just as serious. Patients’ bodies are unable to produce insulin, cells can’t get energy, and the blood is overcome with sugar. As its sugar levels increase, the researchers found, so do levels of a protein called TXNIP. It turns out that this protein also kills the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas known as beta cells — the higher their levels, the more beta cells are killed. Thus, diabetes progresses.
This is where verapamil comes in. The drug is normally used to treat blood pressure and irregular heartbeats by relaxing blood vessels and increasing blood and oxygen to the heart, but it has also been found to reduce levels of TXNIP in beta cells. In doing so, insulin production can restart, and diabetes reverses. “We… know that treatment definitely creates an environmen Continue reading