New Drugs May Restore Insulin Resistance

A drug which targets insulin signalling appears to restore insulin sensitivity in mice

Type 2 diabetes is a massive burden on healthcare systems around the world, and while current treatments are able to manage many aspects of the condition, they are not curative. A new drug being tested at the University of California may be able to change that. After daily treatment with the drug, mice displayed an improved ability to modulate blood glucose, which is progressively lost as the condition progresses. 

“This could lead to a new therapeutic strategy for treating type 2 diabetes. If this new drug works as described, it could be used to reverse insulin resistance, but we need to know first if it does that safely in people”

This new drug inhibits an enzyme called low molecular weight protein tyrosine phosphatase (LMPTP), which has previously been implicated in diabetes development. Inhibition of this enzyme appears able to stimulate insulin receptors - therefore increasing glucose intake. The research builds on past studies which have shown that when LMPTP expression is blocked, mice are protected from developing diabetes induced by a high fat diet. 

“The elegant studies here provide proof of concept that targeting LMPTP in the liver improves glucose control and liver insulin signalling in animals. Our compound is very specific for the target, and we do not see any side effects after treatment in mice for a month, but the next step is to rigorously establish if it’s safe for use in clinical trials. So far, the drug has only been tested in mice, and while some research in human genetics suggests this approach could work in people too, we need more research before we know how relevant this could be for people with type 2 diabetes”

Read more at New Scientist