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Research Front: Diabetes Drugs

Published: October 27, 2010

Two discoveries may open the door to innovative drug treatments for diabetes.

Nutrition experts at Oregon State University Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University have essentially “cured” laboratory mice of mild, diet-induced diabetes by boosting production of an enzyme called elongase-5. Liver function and blood sugar levels returned to normal after genetic manipulation, according to study findings published in the Journal of Lipid Research.

In the future, scientists hope to find a drug that will raise elongase-5 levels to help treat people with the form of diabetes related to lifestyle.

Research teams led by Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and Columbia University in New York City report in the July 23 issue of Cell that bones may control how the rest of the body responds to insulin.

Data from the two studies conducted in mice indicate that bone cells called osteoblasts control release of a hormone that accelerates glucose metabolism elsewhere in the body. The discovery might pave the way to new diabetes drugs that target the key pathway, say researchers.

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