BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – A new study at the UAB Comprehensive Diabetes Center may prove beneficial for thousands of Alabamians. Researchers have cured diabetes in lab mice using a commonly prescribed blood pressure medication, Verapamil. “We found that we could reverse the disease completely,” said Dr. Anath Shalev, director of the UAB Comprehensive Diabetes Center.
Several studies in the past have cured diabetes in the early phases, but failed during the human clinical trials. “None of the therapies are actually addressing the underlying cause, namely the destruction and loss of insulin-producing Beta cells,” said Dr. Shalev. That’s where Verapamil differs. In the lab mice, Dr. Shalev said those treated with the drug not only showed reversal of the disease, but also showcased increased levels of Beta cells. “So, it’s really curing the underlying cause,” said Dr. Shalev.
MORE: Web Extra: Full interview with Dr. Anath Shalev on diabetes research
Beta cells are killed when higher levels of blood sugar manifest an increased presence of the protein, TXNIP. TXNIP, which is naturally in the body and not harmful at normal levels, slows the insulin production until it ultimately kills the Beta cells. Verapamil lowered the TXNIP levels to the point where Beta cells could potentially have started rejuvenating; however, Dr. Shalev said it’s not clear yet whether more Beta cells were being produced, or rather the environment was improved for them to become more clear in readings.
While other tests have struggled with the transition from animal models to human models, Dr. Shalev said this one could be different because of its target. “TXNIP is extremely well-conserved across species, almost identical in rat, mice, and human,” she said. Most of the other tests focused on the auto-immune system, which is drastically different between humans and mice, according to Dr. Shalev. The human clinical test, which is being labeled, “the repurposing of Verapamil as a beta cell survival therapy in type 1 diabetes,” will begin in early 2015. It will be a double-blind study, with 52 participants. Half will be given placebo and half will be given Verapamil. They will take one tablet orally once daily. The study will last a year. It is being funded by a $2.1 million grant from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Join WIAT 42 News at 5 and 6 for much more on this story.
For more information on the human clinical trials or to enroll, contact UAB’s Kentress Davison at 205-934-4112 or 205-975-9308.
To fund diabetes research at UAB and much more, visit the Comprehensive Diabetes Center.
For more information on the diabetes human trial, click here.
Below is an interview with the Alabama board chairman for the American Diabetes Association, Chris Christie. For more, click here.
Friday, November 7, 2014
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
What was your goal in starting a lab-testing company?
What was your motivation to launch Theranos at the age of 19? What set you on this road?
You’re not alone in your fear of needles.
Why the focus on rapid results?
So if I got a blood test and my doctor saw the results and wanted other tests done, I wouldn’t have to have more blood drawn?
Some conventional tests, like pH assays, can be done quickly. Others, like those that require culturing bacteria or viruses, can take days or even weeks. Are there some tests that take Theranos longer? Can everything really be turned around in four hours?
Where do you see this making a big difference?
What are you doing to ensure the accuracy of your testing?
So how do you avoid these potential errors?
How can improved processes actually save lives?
How else can you use this technology?
In the long run, what impact will your technology have?
Will people become more used to gathering and examining their own health data?
It drives me crazy when people talk about the scale as an indicator of health, because your weight doesn’t tell you what’s going on at a biochemical level. What’s really exciting is when you can begin to see changes in your lifestyle appear in your blood data. With some diseases, like type 2 diabetes, if people get alerted early they can take steps to avert getting sick. By testing, you can start to understand your body, understand yourself, change your diet, change your lifestyle, and begin to change your life.
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
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