New diabetes treatment needs only two shots a month

New diabetes treatment needs only two shots a month

New diabetes treatment needs only two shots a month

In what may end the daily routine of insulin shots for millions of diabetes patients, a US-based Indian scientist and his colleagues have come out with a new treatment, in which a patient would only have to take an injection twice a month.

The laboratory breakthrough has been tested successfully on mice and monkeys, opening up the possibility of a new treatment protocol for the disease that has emerged as one of India’s most alarming public health threats.

Headed by Ashutosh Chilkoti, a team of scientists from Duke University, USA, customised a protein for glycemic control and claimed to have come up with promising results.

“The drug works for 10 days in mice and for up to 17 days in monkeys. Humans have slower blood circulation and metabolism, so we expect that if the drug lasts for two weeks
in monkeys, then we can make it  at least twice a month, if not once a month, in humans,”
Kelli Luginbuhl, first author of the paper told DH.

More accurate estimates on the dose and the efficacy of the medicine can come only after the clinical trial.

“For pre-diabetes and earlier stage diabetes, the drug is a great option as it promotes insulin release only when glucose levels are elevated and can even lead to weight loss rather than weight gain due to its ability to induce satiety and slow gastric emptying,” she said.

Kelli said that since the drug, GLP1, needs functioning pancreatic beta-cells, it would not be a suitable treatment option for later-stage diabetes patients.

But compared to insulin shots, it would be as effective and safer, she said.

“Pre-clinical data presents compelling evidence that this construct (protein) would require no more than two injections a month for humans, and possibly as few as one per month. Such an improvement could vastly improve the patient’s quality of life by reducing the frequency and pain of injections, while also providing clinicians with the means to further decouple patient compliance from therapeutic outcome,” a report in the latest issue of the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering said.
India currently has an estimated population of over 50 million diabetes patients, and the number is on the rise. Almost 90% of them are type-2 diabetes patients who are currently managing either with the help of medicines or insulin shots.

What is worrying, according to the Indian Council of Medical Research, is there is an increasing shift of the diabetes epidemic towards urban poor.

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