A team of researchers at the University of California, San Diego, is developing a pill that restores insulin sensitivity in diabetic patients. Type 2 diabetes develops when the body’s response to insulin – a hormone that regulates the amount of glucose in the blood – gets weaker. Commercially available drugs so far only remove excess glucose in the blood, and have side effects, such as weight gain or diarrhea. The drugs sure can help manage the disease, but cannot reverse or restore the insulin signaling function in diabetic patients. However, the newly developed drug hopes to restore the body’s sensitivity to insulin without producing any adverse side effects.
According to the statement released by the team, the drug works by inhibiting an enzyme called low molecular weight protein tyrosine phosphatase (LMPTP), which weakens cell sensitivity to insulin. By reducing LMPTP activity, the drug reawakens insulin receptors on the surface of the cells – especially those in the liver. This in turn restores ability to regulate excess sugar and effectively reverses the condition of Type 2 diabetes.
Reference: Diabetes reversal by inhibition of the low-molecular-weight tyrosine phosphatase. Nature Chemical Biology, 2017. DOI: 10.1038/nchembio.2344