Skip to comments.Breakthrough in fight against diabetes
Posted on 09/07/2009 9:40:18 PM PDT by neverdem
A gene that controls the way the body responds to the hormone insulin has been identified, marking a breakthrough in the fight against diabetes.
Scientists believe a variation in the gene's DNA promotes insulin resistance, the primary cause of type 2 diabetes. The disease is the most common form of diabetes, affecting around two million people in the UK.
The discovery could lead to new drug treatments that target the genetic fault and prevent the body failing to respond to insulin.
The hormone controls the way cells absorb glucose from the blood and use it to generate energy.
In type 2 diabetes, insulin often continues to be produced by the pancreas but it cannot be used properly.
The new genetic link, the first known to involve insulin resistance, was found after scientists screened the DNA of more than 14,000 people.
They identified thousands of single-letter variations in the genetic code that were associated with the disease, finally whittling them down to one with the greatest effect. This appeared to influence a gene called insulin receptor substrate 1, or IRS1.
Tests on the skeletal muscle of a pair of Danish twins confirmed the connection. One of the twins had diabetes, suffered from insulin resistance, and also had the IRS1 genetic variation.
The mutation affected the amount of protein produced by the IRS1 gene, suggesting a direct link.
Professor Philippe Froguel, one of the researchers from Imperial College London, said: ''We are very excited about these results - this is the first genetic evidence that a defect in the way insulin works in muscles can contribute to diabetes.
"Muscle tissue needs to make more energy using glucose than other tissues. We think developing a treatment for diabetes that improves the way insulin works in the muscle could really help people with...
(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...
This is great news.
It would seem to be. Can anyone translate/interpret for those of us with a limited medical vocabulary?
In type 2 diabetes a person looses his sensitivity to insulin. In other words they loose their ability to respond or control insulin. This study ids a gene that controls the way the body responds to the insulin, therefore it could lead to a drug that could allow the body to control its insulin.
What I don’t know from the information presented is whether the DNA marker only predicts you’ll get the illness or whether it can actually fix the problem. Sickle-cell, for example, is a genetic problem but there’s no cure for it.
If it is genetic, is that marker evident in a newborn? And why does Type II not manifest itself until later in life if it is genetic?
Yes, the information may be a breakthrough but it doesn’t help all that much unless some treatment is found that reverses or negates the condition.
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