New drug could fight diabetic eye and kidney problems

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Researchers from the University of Bristol have made an exciting breakthrough in the fight against diabetes-related complications.

Published in Cardiovascular Diabetology, their work introduces a new kind of drug that could help prevent serious diabetes complications affecting the eyes and kidneys.

Diabetes is a widespread condition, affecting roughly one out of every eleven adults globally. It’s known for causing high blood sugar levels that, even with management, can lead to severe complications.

These complications often involve the microvasculature—the network of tiny blood vessels throughout the body.

Despite existing treatments, complications such as diabetic eye and kidney disease can progress to the point of causing blindness and kidney failure.

Central to this research is the glycocalyx, a protective layer lining all blood vessels, which is known to be vulnerable to damage in diabetic patients.

The team discovered that by protecting this lining from damage, it was possible to halt the onset of diabetic eye and kidney disease in mouse models.

The key to this protection is a new kind of drug known as a “heparanase inhibitor.” Heparanase is an enzyme that damages the glycocalyx, acting similarly to scissors cutting through this vital protective layer.

By inhibiting heparanase, the novel drug prevents this damage, offering a beacon of hope for developing effective treatments for diabetic complications.

Dr. Rebecca Foster, an associate professor of microvascular medicine, and Dr. Monica Gamez, a research associate, are leading this pioneering research.

They are enthusiastic about the potential of their work to change lives.

With diabetes being such a prevalent issue worldwide, affecting over 8% of the global adult population, the development of this new class of inhibitors into a treatment could significantly improve the quality of life for many.

The research team is now focused on advancing their findings towards clinical use. If successful, their work could offer a dual-purpose solution, preventing multiple diabetic complications with a single medication.

This represents not just a significant scientific achievement but a hopeful future for millions of adults living with diabetes around the world.

If you care about kidney health, please read studies about drug that prevents kidney failure in diabetes, and drinking coffee could help reduce risk of kidney injury.

For more information about diabetes, please read studies about Vitamin D and type 2 diabetes, and to people with diabetes, some fruits are better than others.

The research findings can be found in Cardiovascular Diabetology.

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