Several million people suffer from Type 2 Diabetes around the world. While there is a way to control the blood sugar levels (read insulin), administering it daily can be painful and unpleasant. However, a recent study has found a new way to eliminate Type 2 Diabetes in mice for several months with the help of a single injection.
The researchers were able to achieve remission in both rats and mice by injecting them with a small dose of a synthesized protein called Fibroblast Factor 1 or FGF1. This particular protein not only helps in growth, but also known to lower blood glucose level in mice having diabetes. When injected directly into the brain of the animal, the results were astonishing: the animals went into “sustained remission” for upto 17 weeks!
This isn’t the first time FGF1 has been used to control blood sugar levels, previously it was administered into the blood stream. This method, however, resulted in restoring healthy blood sugar level for only upto two days.
What makes this new study so important is the fact that researchers focused on the role of brain in controlling and regulating the levels of sugar in the bloodstream as opposed to other systems in the body. In order to validate their findings, the research group repeated the experiment on two more sets of mice and rats. Both these animals had type 2 diabetes (developed in a different manner) and exhibited the same results of sustained remission as the original experiments.
The peptide works by strengthening connections in the hypothalamus as well as increasing the production of neuroprotective proteins found in the brain. This results in a better regulation of appetite and metabolism. The animals used in the experiments showed that after meals the clearance of glucose was improved, leading to normalized blood sugar levels.
Hopefully, it won’t be long before diabetics can wave goodbye to needles.
This study is published in Nature Medicine.