Researchers have discovered a genetic mutation that could possibly prevent millions of people from being affected by type 2 diabetes. Findings from the study were published recently after a group of researchers from Cedars-Sinai genotyped and compared a host of healthy subjects’ genes to those of type 2 diabetes patients. The data could lead to new insights for treating more than 26 million people in the United States alone who suffer from the disease.
Around 81,000 healthy human genomes were sequenced from the U.S., Asia and Europe, and then compared to those of 16,000 diabetics. The key to preventing diabetes was found in a mutation in the gene GLP1R, which appeared to reduce the risk of diabetes by 14%.
Commenting on this, Mark O. Goodarzi, MD, PhD, director of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at Cedars-Sinai, said, “We have a wonderful opportunity to personalize the treatment and prevention of this chronic disease. Identification of genes that influence the risk of diabetes is going to open new frontiers in diabetes drug development.”
Dr. Richard Bergman, PhD, director of the Diabetes & Obesity Research Institute at Cedars-Sinai, added, “This newly identified mutation in such a large study group is a critical discovery in the field of diabetic research. Now we need to better understand why and how this genetic mutation might protect people from developing diabetes.”
Another study that was carried out in parallel checked for any effects of this mutation may have on obesity, which is considered to be another risk factor for developing diabetes. However, according to reports, “The mutation we discovered may prevent certain people from developing diabetes, but it does not appear to affect their risk of becoming obese or their body mass index.”
In addition to this study, Dr. Goodarzi and his team of scientists have been involved in other related research projects, being a part of the internationally recognized Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology and their studies on “Low-frequency and Rare Exome Chip Variants Associate with Fasting Glucose and Type 2 Diabetes Susceptibility,” which was published recently in the journal Nature Communications.