Potential diabetes breakthrough found in cancer drug trials

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A promising discovery has emerged from Weill Cornell Medicine, where researchers have found a new way to stimulate insulin production, a breakthrough that could lead to improved treatments for type 2 diabetes.

This finding, detailed in Nature Chemical Biology, comes from a drug currently under clinical trials for cancer.

The Search for New Diabetes Treatments

Dr. Shuibing Chen and her team, including postdoctoral associate Dr. Angie Chi Nok Chong, conducted tests on mouse pancreatic beta cells using a selected library of drugs, aiming to discover compounds that trigger insulin secretion.

Their focused approach paid off when they found a candidate that not only did this but also illuminated a previously unknown aspect of insulin regulation.

Unexpected Discovery Involves Cancer-Related Protein

Among the compounds that spurred insulin secretion was one that acted on a protein called CHEK2. This protein is often mutated in cancer, but until now, it was not linked to glucose metabolism and insulin regulation.

The compound, known as AZD7762, showed consistent results in promoting insulin secretion across multiple laboratory tests and animal models, spanning from mice to non-human primates.

A New Pathway for Insulin Secretion

Delving deeper, the researchers identified a new molecular pathway influencing insulin secretion—a pathway active in various mammalian species.

The compound AZD7762, while currently tested as a cancer treatment, offers a valuable chemical tool for further research into the complex mechanisms of insulin regulation.

Cancer Drug Unlikely Direct Fit for Diabetes

While AZD7762 shows potential, its current form as a cancer drug, which can have strong side effects, might not be suitable for diabetes treatment, which generally requires long-term medication.

Dr. Chen notes that the safety profiles for cancer and diabetes medications differ significantly. However, a modified version that targets CHEK2 in pancreatic beta cells exclusively could be a promising area for further exploration.

Future Drug Development and Testing

This research not only identifies a new drug target but also sets the stage for future drug discovery and development.

The methods established by Dr. Chen’s team mean that any new potential treatments could be quickly and effectively tested.

In summary, while the compound in question is not likely to become a direct treatment for diabetes, its discovery opens new doors for understanding and potentially treating the disease.

With further research, targeting CHEK2 could play a critical role in the development of new diabetes therapies.

If you care about diabetes, please read studies that pomace olive oil could help lower blood cholesterol, and honey could help control blood sugar.

For more information about diabetes, please see recent studies about Vitamin D that may reduce dangerous complications in diabetes and results showing plant-based protein foods may help reverse type 2 diabetes.

The research findings can be found in Nature Chemical Biology.

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