Veteranclaims’s Blog

February 6, 2011

Type 1 Diabetes Control Without Insulin Injections

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — veteranclaims @ 3:42 pm

If this research is further validated, in human trials, then this may well be an effective cure for Type 1 diabetes. In a nut shell, instead of fighting blood sugar levels by injecting insulin which counteracts the effect of glucagon, they plan to remove the agent causing the higher blood sugar, glucagon, because, “if you don’t have glucagon, then you don’t need insulin.”

Full Article at: UT Southwestern researchers uncover potential ‘cure’ for type 1 diabetes

2011 News Releases

DALLAS – Jan. 26, 2011 – “Type 1 diabetes could be converted to an asymptomatic, non-insulin-dependent disorder by eliminating the actions of a specific hormone, new findings by UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers suggest.

These findings in mice show that insulin becomes completely superfluous and its absence does not cause diabetes or any other abnormality when the actions of glucagon are suppressed. Glucagon, a hormone produced by the pancreas, prevents low blood sugar levels in healthy individuals. It causes high blood sugar in people with type 1 diabetes.

“We’ve all been brought up to think insulin is the all-powerful hormone without which life is impossible, but that isn’t the case,” said Dr. Roger Unger, professor of internal medicine and senior author of the study appearing online and in the February issue of Diabetes. “If diabetes is defined as restoration of glucose homeostasis to normal, then this treatment can perhaps be considered very close to a ‘cure.’ ”

Insulin treatment has been the gold standard for type 1 diabetes (insulin-dependent diabetes) in humans since its discovery in 1922. But even optimal regulation of type 1 diabetes with insulin alone cannot restore normal glucose tolerance. These new findings demonstrate that the elimination of glucagon action restores glucose tolerance to normal.

Normally, glucagon is released when the glucose, or sugar, level in the blood is low. In insulin deficiency, however, glucagon levels are inappropriately high and cause the liver to release excessive amounts of glucose into the bloodstream. This action is opposed by insulin, which directs the body’s cells to remove sugar from the bloodstream.

Dr. Unger’s laboratory research previously found that insulin’s benefit resulted from its suppression of glucagon.”

““These findings suggest that if there is no glucagon, it doesn’t matter if you don’t have insulin,” said Dr. Unger, who is also a physician at the Dallas VA Medical Center. “This does not mean insulin is unimportant. It is essential for normal growth and development from neonatal to adulthood. But in adulthood, at least with respect to glucose metabolism, the role of insulin is to control glucagon.

“And if you don’t have glucagon, then you don’t need insulin.”

Dr. Young Lee, assistant professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and lead author of the study, said the next step is to determine the mechanism behind this result.

“Hopefully, these findings will someday help those with type 1 diabetes,” Dr. Lee said. “If we can find a way to block the actions of glucagon in humans, then maybe we can minimize the need for insulin therapy.”

1 Comment »

  1. Yeahhhhh, no. Insulin is required to keep your brain in a sane, unagitated state, even in adulthood and even with glucose homeostasis. (and it’s been found to actually TREAT disorders like Alzheimer’s) Something tells me this would have VERY deleterious effects in humans, and they even say it shouldn’t be considered for children for obvious reasons. Also, taking a glucagon inhibitor could be really bad because a “normal” body releases “unchecked” glucagon all the time during activities such as exercise to keep your blood sugar from going low – blocking it would lead to the same negative side effects that insulin has during exercise, theoretically.

    It is an interesting academic exercise, though. Could lead us to more knowledge about what insulin does in general, and at least Dr. Young Lee (the lead author) seems to realize that this would only “minimize” how much insulin you need at the most : P.

    Comment by lurker — June 7, 2012 @ 11:22 pm

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