In a new study, researchers have developed a new drug that leads to treating type 2 diabetes in millions of patients who are seeking to better control their blood sugar without the common side effects of nausea, vomiting, and in select cases, undesired weight loss.
The research was conducted by a team at Syracuse University.
A common group of drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes is glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R) agonists.
While they do lower blood sugar levels in diabetic patients, their side effects include nausea, vomiting, and weight loss.
In the study, the team found a way to combine two molecules into a new substance that lowers blood sugar without those undesired side effects.
They developed a new area of bioconjugation, a chemical technique used to combine two molecules.
By binding together exendin-4 (Ex4), an FDA-approved GLP-1R agonist, to dicyanocobinamide (Cbi), which is a small piece of the complex vitamin B12 molecule, they produced Cbi-Ex4 in a technique they call “corrination”—a play, of course, on “coronation.”
Data from testing Cbi-Ex4 on animals revealed beneficial effects as evidenced by improved blood sugar levels during glucose tolerance tests and a profound reduction in vomiting compared to Ex4.
Importantly, no weight loss was noted, again in stark contrast to the currently approved GLP-1R agonist, making this new drug ideal for patients who require glucoregulation without affecting their body mass index (BMI) levels.
The team says this drug could, therefore, benefit diabetes patients who also live with cystic fibrosis, COPD, sarcopenia, cancer, or HIV, where weight-loss is counter-indicated.
The next step in the development of this groundbreaking drug is to move it through the pre-clinical phase into phase I human studies.
One author of the study is chemistry professor Dr. Robert P. Doyle.
The study is published in Cell Reports.
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