Intestinal hormone may correct type 2 diabetes

A new therapeutic approach for type 2 diabetes has been developed, which involves a novel single molecule hormone.

Researchers from the Helmholtz Zentrum München (HMGU) and the Technische Universität München (TUM), together with scientists in the U.S., discovered that the hormone can act on the receptors in insulin-stimulating hormones GLP-1 and GIP, helping to reduce weight and improve blood sugar in patients.

Clinical studies

In partnership with pharmaceutical company Roche, scientists conducted clinical trials with the new hormone, which is a molecular structure that combines the effects of both GLP-1 and GIP.

GLP-1 analogues, which are thought to enhance GLP-1 action, are already used in some diabetic medicines to help reduce blood sugar. The result of combining GLP-1 and GIP is the maximization of metabolic effects, compared to the smaller effects that researchers have seen in the individual molecules.

"When glucose (sugar) is ingested, these hormones primarily lead to increased insulin release and subsequent reduction in blood sugar, but they also affect appetite regulation and fat burning," a press release on the study stated.

Encouraging results

Findings showed that the GLP-1/GIP co-agonists help improve blood sugar levels, increase weight loss and lower blood fat in both humans and animals.

Possible adverse effects were noted, including gastrointestinal complaints. However, the effects appear to be less frequent with the combined-hormone approach than with the individual-hormone method.

"Our results give us additional confidence that our combinatorial approach of modulating brain regulatory centers via natural gut hormone signals has superior potential for a transformative diabetes treatment," said Prof. Dr. Matthias Tschöp, study author.

More information about the study can be found in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Source: Helmholtz Zentrum München – German Research Center for Environmental Health.

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