Common Blood-Pressure Drug Cures Diabetes in Mice - Human Trials Begin in 2015
A drug that's already been on the market for 30 years to treat high blood pressure and chest pain has been found to completely cure diabetes in mice, and researchers have now been approved to start human clinical trials early next year.
A new study by a team from the University of Alabama (UAB) in the US has revealed that the drug verapamil, which is commonly used to treat high blood pressure, chest pain, and irregular heartbeat, could be the key to curing both type 1 and type 2 diabetes in humans.
A few years ago, the team discovered that the progression of diabetes was linked to a pancreatic protein known as TXNIP. They found that diabetes initially develops when high blood pressure causes the pancreas to produce too much TXNIP, which sits inside a pancreatic cell known as the beta cell. Beta cells are found in regions of the pancreas called the islets of Langerhan, and are responsible for producing the insulin the body needs to regulate blood sugar levels.
While scientists have known for many years that a decrease in beta cells can cause type 1 and 2 diabetes, they couldn't figure out what was killing them off. The UAB team was finally able to pinpoint the cause - when too much TXNIP is being produced in the pancreas, it actively kills off the beta cells. This means the body can't produce enough insulin, which leads to the progression of diabetes.
Now, the UAB team has discovered that the drug verapamil actually lowers the levels of TXNIP inside pancreatic beta cells - so much so, that when administered to diabetic mouse models, the drug completely eradicated the disease Continue reading