Sunday, March 7, 2010

Researcher ready to test new diabetes treatment (USA)

A longtime diabetes researcher at University of Texas Southwestern Medical School is setting up human tests for a new treatment he says might have fewer side effects than standard insulin therapy. Dr. Roger Unger, chairman of diabetes research at the school, is quick to warn a novel method that worked in mice with Type 1 diabetes may not help people. "You can't make any claims until the tests have been done," he said. The tests using leptin, a natural hormone produced by fat cells, would build on results of experiments performed by Unger's research team and published recently in a major scientific journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The paper, titled "Leptin monotherapy in insulin dependent type 1 diabetes," describes studies done on diabetic mice. The journal cites the new paper as "reporting findings of exceptional interest." The new work is a follow-up to a paper published in 2008 by Unger's team that reported about diabetic mice and rats that were genetically modified to produce extra leptin and thrived without insulin. The 2008 paper was the research equivalent of a talking dog - startling even to experts, whether or not it said anything practical. - Capital Gazette

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