A group of scientists from the University of Auckland (New Zealand) may have recently discovered a major advance in diabetes research by uncovering what they believe to be the molecular mechanism that kills the cells that produce insulin, precipitating both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
The research, according to the university’s press release, was recently published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB J), entitled, “Uric acid-dependent inhibition of AMP kinase induces hepatic glucose production in diabetes and starvation: evolutionary implications of the uricase loss in hominids.”
By observing the formation of small toxic clumps of amylin — a hormone produced by the same cells that produce insulin and that ends up killing those cells, leading to the development of diabetes — scientists believe they have found the cause for both types of diabetes — type 1, usually known as juvenile-onset diabetes, according to the International Diabetes Federation’s webpage, and characterized by the inability of the body to produce insulin; and type 2 or adult-onset diabetes, characterized by “insulin resistance and relative insulin deficiency.”
Even though diabetes is expected affect 592 million people by 2035, its causal mechanisms for both types remained unknown, making it difficult to prevent it.
With this discovery, the international team led by Professor Garth Cooper of the University’s School of Biological Sciences and Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular BioDiscovery believes to have enough information to “to make new classes of anti-diabetic medicines” that allow them to “to treat patients with both forms of the disease with the objective being to stop the death of the insulin-producing cells and the longer-term goal of increasing these cells.”
People suffering from diabetes experience the rise of sugar levels in blood, eventually damaging organs like the heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves.