The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and Birmingham-based Southern Research University have discovered a new drug candidate that represents a major advance in the treatment of diabetes.
A release from UAB on Thursday advised that the drug has been tested on isolated human and mouse pancreatic islets, the place where the hormones insulin and glucagon are made. It has also been tested on mouse and rat cell cultures and animal models of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
The drug candidate, called SRI-37330, is a non-toxic small molecule administered orally, which effectively rescued mice from both types of diabetes models.
SRI-37330 was allegedly discovered through two decades of research by Anath Shalev, director of UAB’s Comprehensive Diabetes Center. Southern Research used its findings to search through 300,000 compounds and identify promising leads. The non-profit then optimizes the drug from those leads using medicinal chemistry.
The strong anti-diabetic properties and safety profiles of this newly designed chemical compound were published this week in the Journal of Cell Metabolism. According to the UAB, the study is the culmination of 10 years of work by Shalev-led lab and a large-scale discovery, followed by extensive drug improvement by Southern Research.
UAB and Southern Research researchers found that the experimental drug significantly improved four problems caused by diabetes:
• blood sugar levels that are too high;
• Very high levels of the hormone glucagon, which increases very high levels of blood sugar;
• excessive production of glucose by the liver; And
• Fatty liver, known as hepatic steatosis.
“In comparison to currently available diabetes treatments, this compound may provide a different, effective and highly beneficial approach to treating diabetes,” said research leader Shalev. “We are committed to transfer this medicine to humans safely and as quickly as possible and are currently looking for the best way to do so.”
Diabetes affects 425 million people worldwide and more than 30 million in the United States. It is a growing epidemic, with 1.5 million Americans newly diagnosed each year. Alabama had the third highest prevalence of diabetes in the country in 2012, per Public Health Department.
Pre-studies led by Shevley suggest that SRI-37330 may be beneficial for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, including both lean and obese individuals.
“The safety and efficacy of SRI-37330 in humans is still to be determined,” he said, “but we have seen that it is highly effective in human islets, is available orally and is well tolerated in mice.” is.”
According to a UAB release, 80 million people in the United States who have prediabetes may also benefit from a potential drug. Additionally, the effectiveness of SRI-37330 in reducing fatty liver in mice suggested that it may have the potential to treat non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, affecting approximately 100 million people and 1 billion people worldwide. Does.
Sean Ross is editor of Yelhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn