Ala. Diabetes Center cures diabetes in lab mice, preparing for human trial

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – A new study at the UAB Comprehensive Diabetes Center may prove beneficial for many.

WIAT-TV reports (http://bit.ly/1prOYDP) researchers have cured diabetes in lab mice using a commonly prescribed blood pressure medication, Verapamil.

Several studies in the past have cured diabetes in the early phases, but failed during the human clinical trials.

Beta cells are killed when higher levels of blood sugar manifest an increased presence of the protein, TXNIP. TXNIP, which is naturally in the body and not harmful at normal levels, slows the insulin production until it ultimately kills the Beta cells. Verapamil lowered the TXNIP levels to the point where Beta cells could potentially have started rejuvenating. Director of the UAB Comprehensive Diabetes Center said it’s not clear yet whether more Beta cells were being produced, or rather the environment was improved for them to become more clear in readings.

WIAT-TV says while other tests have struggled with the transition from animal models to human models this one could be different because of its target. Most of the other tests focused on the auto-immune system, which is drastically different between humans and mice.

The human clinical test, being labeled, “the repurposing of Verapamil as a beta cell survival therapy in type 1 diabetes,” will begin in early 2015. It will be a double-blind study, with 52 participants. Half will be given placebo and half will be given Verapamil. They will take one tablet orally once daily. The study will last a year.

It is being funded by a $2.1 million grant from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

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