Study Restores Insulin Cell Function in Type 2 Diabetes

By blocking a protein, VDAC1, in the insulin-producing beta cells, it is possible to restore their normal function in case of type 2 diabetes.

In preclinical experiments, the researchers behind a new study have also shown that it is possible to prevent the development of the disease.

The findings are published in the scientific journal Cell Metabolism.

The researchers at Lund University in Sweden believe that the active substance, which inhibits the protein VDAC1, could play a part in future drug development for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

“The goal is to be able to administer the substance to newly diagnosed type 2 diabetics to allow the insulin-producing beta cells to retain their function. Or, even better, to give it to pre-diabetics to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes,” says research team leader Albert Salehi, who conducted the study together with Claes Wollheim.

“It is a small study based on cell donations from six deceased people with type 2 diabetes, as well as a limited number of experiments in animal models. Further studies are needed to demonstrate how blocking VDAC1 affects kidney, heart, muscle and fat tissue, for example.

“However, the results thus far have been so promising that we have patented the use of the active substance within the diabetes field. We are very happy about that, and this initial study would not have been possible without the financial support from the Forget Foundation,” says Salehi.

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