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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Diabetes Vaccine, What Has Become Of It?

Diabetes vaccine studies for phase 3 were initiated sometime in 2008. When I first heard of these studies, I got excited and knew I was on to something good and just had to write about it. Besides, I wanted to add it to the diabetes treatment part of my website. So I did some research on it and came across the Diabetes Vaccine Development Center. This bridges the gap between research and product development.

The Diabetes Vaccine Development Centre is the project of both the Australian Government and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International through the National Health and Medical Research Council. Its job is to recognize, assess, support and coordinate the projects that have been approved by its board.

In its own words, the mission of the centre is "to accelerate the development of one or more vaccines that would prevent or delay the progress of early onset diabetes, aiming to have clinical proof of concept in 3-5 years, with studies conducted to a standard acceptable to regulatory agencies and to an eventual industrial partner."

Now back to the first study that got me excited. This study announced by Diamyd Medical consisted of around 300 patients at 30 to 50 clinics in Europe. About three to five countries participated. The subject of the study is the therapeutic diabetes vaccine called Diamyd.

Professor Ludvigsson, the chief investigator, is from the University of Linkoping, Linkoping, Sweden. The application for the study's Phase III was submitted to the Swedish Medicinal Products Agency. Other submissions were also be sent to other countries in Europe.

FDA also received an application to carry out the Phase III study. CEO of Diamyd Medical, Elizabeth Lindner, said this is an important landmark for Diamyd. More countries and diabetes clinics in Europe participated in the Phase III study.

As a life science corporation, Diamyd Medical develops therapy for diabetes and its complications. They have developed this drug called Diamyd to target autoimmune diabetes. The result of the Phase II clinical trials was encouraging as they showed important and optimistic results in Sweden.

The active matter in Diamyd is GAD65 which is a chief autoantigen in autoimmune diabetes. GAD may have a vital role not only in diabetes. It may also play a role in other diseases that are related to the central nervous system.

Diamyd has a sole license worldwide from the University of California as to the therapeutic use of the GAD65. It has sublicensed this to Neurologix, Inc. New Jersey to treat Parkinson's disease. It has also other projects in the works including the use of GAD and enkephalin for chronic pain.

Wouldn't it be great if the diabetes vaccine came true? Let us hope and pray it does. It has already passed the clinical trials I and II so they are on track to getting nearer for the vaccine to become a reality. It will be every diabetic's dream come true. I looked hard for the result of the Phase III but couldn't find. But I will not stop till they find help for the diabetics in the form of diabetes vaccine.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Blood Glucose Levels and Whole Grain Foods, What’s the Connection?

Blood glucose levels and whole grain foods, what's the link between these two? They say, eating whole grain foods is a good way to avoid type 2 diabetes. Now a review has proven that a diet rich in unrefined grains does indeed reduce the risk to develop diabetes. There is a need for more research though to confirm this finding.

Marion Priebe, the chief review author said the proof is weak so they cannot make a firm conclusion that whole grain foods protect one from developing type 2 diabetes. The decrease in the whole grains intake for the last ten years coincided with the increase in type 2 diabetes leading to the theory of the link between the two. They also wanted to find out if whole grain foods will help lower the blood glucose levels.

Professionals at the University Medical Center Groningen's Center for Medical Biomics in the Netherlands led by Priebe, who is the epidemiologist and nutritionist there, reviewed twelve studies that worked on the connection between type 2 diabetes and whole grains consumption.

What the researchers did was this. They followed people without diabetes to find out whether those who ate meals rich in whole grains had less chance of developing the disease than those who did not. The results of the studies were consistent in the sense that the risk to develop diabetes was reduced for those who consumed whole grain foods.

However, two of the studies that dealt with the link between weight and whole grain intake had only improved slightly the risk to develop type 2 diabetes. There was only one controlled trial and the eleven were prospective studies so there's a need for more randomized controlled studies
that will give a more definitive conclusion.

In another study two groups of overweight adults were randomly assigned to eat one of two diets. Both were given 55% of total calories from carbohydrates, 30% from fat and 15% from protein but in one diet the grain products were made from whole grains while the other one was made from refined white flour.

The scientists found that the diet with the whole grain helped control the blood insulin levels better. In addition, the researchers found that the same group of participants who had the whole grain diet were able to metabolize better their blood glucose levels.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Diabetes and Pancreatic Cancer Link Found By Mayo Clinic

Diabetes and pancreatic cancer has been found to be linked in a study conducted by Mayo Clinic. The study found that 40% of patients with pancreatic cancer were previously diagnosed with diabetes many months before or for up to two years in some cases.

Lead author of the study Suresh Chari, M.D., who is also the gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic, said that they are now certain that for the patients who have pancreatic cancer the diabetes is caused by cancer and not vice versa.

Their next goal now is to find a biomarker for the diabetes brought about by pancreatic cancer so that they can check the newly diagnosed diabetic if they have early pancreatic cancer. This way they can present surgical treatment as early as possible.

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and since they usually do not show symptoms for this early on, by the time it is diagnosed, the stage is so advanced, surgery is not possible. That is why less than 5% live five years after the diagnosis is made.

The researchers reviewed the records of 736 patients with pancreatic cancer and 1875 healthy people with the record of fasting blood sugar data. They found that 40% of the patients with pancreatic cancer were diagnosed with diabetes while in the healthy people group, only 20% had diabetes.

Diabetes that is induced by pancreatic cancer is less common than type 2 diabetes. Their previous study showed that only one of every 125 who were 50 years old and over and who were newly diagnosed with diabetes will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Dr. Wang and company said that around 80% of patients who have pancreatic cancer are intolerant to glucose or what they call frank diabetes in another research. From this finding, they came up with two hypotheses. One is that the pancreatic cancer leads to associated diabetes and second is that diabetes promotes the development of pancreatic cancer. There has been proof supporting these two hypotheses.

They will continue their work on this so that they can catch pancreatic cancer early enough to make it possible to do a surgical intervention more successfully. As for me, I am only too glad to know that this study shows that this condition is not a diabetes complication. Enough already! I don't want to write anymore about the link between diabetes and pancreatic cancer.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Encouraging Data for Type 2 Diabetes

Obesity and type 2 diabetes gets a promising data as announced by Genaera Corporation. They said that their drug candidate to treat obesity and type 2 diabetes, trodusquemine or MSI-1436, shows noticeable improvement in obese mice.

The same drug has also lowered the plasma insulin levels and improved the glucose tolerance and fasting blood glucose in animals that were hyperglycemic. This announcement was made at the Diabetes Mellitus Symposia in Breckenridge, Colorado.

In addition to the marked improvement in the aforementioned areas, the effects were maintained. Here's how they found this out. They administered the MSI-1436 to the diet-induced obese mice four weekly treatments. The result was significant in the sense that there was marked improvement in the level of plasma insulin.

In addition, the glucose tolerance improvement was maintained when the mice were administered the same drug weekly for 122 days. How did they find this out? By testing the oral glucose tolerance, and so they concluded that long periods of treatment will maintain the marked improvement for obesity and type 2 diabetes.

It looks like that the MSI-1436 has properties that are anti-diabetic. What are these properties? Maintained improvement in glucose tolerance and fasting blood glucose, improved sensitivity to insulin and lowering of plasma insulin levels are the anti-diabetic properties the scientists found from their experiments.

Genaera president and CEO Jack Armstrong said that with the promising data they obtained, they will keep on exploring MSI-1436 as a treatment for obesity and type 2 diabetes. They are going ahead with assessing the potential of this drug that will impact both obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Beta Cells Progenitors Discovery Shows Promise

Beta cells progenitors researchers at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel's Diabetes Research Center were able to separate the pancreatic cells from adult mice. These can produce insulin. They have been indefinable before so their existence has been questionable.

Cell, the scientific journal, published the findings in the January 25 issue. Harry Heimberg's research team did the report. This shows promise in the sense that if the progenitor cells are also found in human pancreas, then it may leave the door open for new treatments for diabetic patients.

We know that the diabetics do not have enough insulin because their beta cells that produce it are not sufficient. And to move the main source of energy from the blood to the cells, insulin is needed. The primary source of energy is sugar.

It took so long to discover these progenitors cells because for one thing they are in short supply. Then it was difficult to get these cells to act. What the Heimberg's research team did to solve these challenges was to fasten the channel that uses up the digestive enzymes from the pancreas.

Clamping the channel resulted in the activation of the progenitor cells. The investigators then did some genetic labeling on these cells to make it possible to detect and separate them. Here is the good part. During the process, the beta cells doubled in quantity. What does this mean to us?

If more studies on this are pursued to find out if these progenitor cells are also in humans and the factors that make them produce insulin, then there will be more chance for people to undergo the successful treatment of beta cells transplantation.

This has been a controversial issue in diabetes research but in this recent study, beta cells have been generated and they are responsive to glucose. They are found in the pancreas of the adult mice and can be activated to increase the beta cell mass.

This research has provided the proof needed to show that cells in the adult pancreas exist and have the potential to generate beta cells. Needless to say, discovering the molecules involved in such generation will be a rewarding though challenging endeavor.

As long as there is inadequate supply of beta cells, this successful therapy of transplantation is limited because of insufficient donor organs. Getting large supplies of these will solve this problem and will make the transplantation available to more people if there are enough beta cells progenitors.