Indian doctors hail diabetes breakthrough

July 13, 2010

Indian scientists said Tuesday they had made a breakthrough that could lead to diabetics needing to inject themselves only once a month or less, rather than every day.

Researchers at the National Institute of Immunology in New Delhi said they had successfully concluded a two-year trial on mice, rats and rabbits of a drug which slowly releases into the body over weeks or even months.

Reporting in the US journal (PNAS), they said a single dose of the drug -- SIA-II -- was able to maintain a minimum level of insulin in a rat for more than 120 days.

"I think this is a very exciting development," Anoop Misra, director of the department at Fortis Hospitals in New Delhi, and chairman of the Diabetes Foundation (India), told AFP.

Misra said once-a-week injections for diabetes were making good progress in trials but that monthly injections were pioneering territory.

"This longer control of diabetes with a single reservoir of insulin is entirely new, though one must keep in mind this has been done just in animal models," he said of the prototype drug.

"It is still in the early stages of development."

Avadhesha Surolia, director of the National Institute of Immunology and one of the paper's authors, told the Mint newspaper that the technology had been licensed to Life Science Pharmaceuticals in Connecticut.

He described the agreement as "one of the biggest licensing deals from any academic institution in India."

More than 220 million people worldwide suffer from diabetes, which kills more than one million people each year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The illness is affecting a growing number of people across Asia because of a combination of modern diets, increasingly urban living and genetics.

Some diabetics have to inject insulin every few hours and must carefully watch their diet and because their bodies are unable to break down in the blood.

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10 comments

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PPihkala
1.3 / 5 (4) Jul 13, 2010
Yeah, there is no money to make in curing the diabetes, so all we get from big pharma is medications that you need to take until you die. How convenient for them, but not for the patient.
DozerIAm
1 / 5 (1) Jul 13, 2010
There is always money to be made in niche pharma circles, especially outside the US where FDA mandated testing doesn't cut into the bottom line. However, I question whether this will have an impact on humans who probably bounce their blood sugar levels quite a bit more on a normal human diet than lab rats do with their... whatever lab rats get fed.
DrDanger
4 / 5 (2) Jul 13, 2010
What an ignorant comment. "Big pharma" as you blame-it-on-someone liberals like to claim are evil is actually doing something great here. They did not cause diabetes, and cannot cure it since it would be rare for a pharmaceutical company to be able to make a cure for a genetic disease. If they could they would because it would be worth trillions. Anyhow, this discovery could change the daily lives of many with diabetes.
PPihkala
not rated yet Jul 13, 2010
Early or diabetes type I might have strong genetic reasons, but diabetes type II is mostly caused by poor nutrition. There are reports that by correcting one's nutrition, ie by diet change, diabetes II can, if not eliminated, at least managed much better with much less insulin. Diabetes II is not about insulin deficiency. It's more caused by insulin resistance, which needs to be corrected.
PPihkala
not rated yet Jul 13, 2010
More about genetics of diabetes I:
http://www.physor...171.html
PPihkala
not rated yet Jul 13, 2010
More about how big pharma wants to help, their bottom line:
http://www.nytime...2&hp

Want alternative:
http://www.rawfor30days.com/
Nyloc
4 / 5 (1) Jul 13, 2010
Patients' insulin needs vary with exercise and diet, so I'm puzzled at the mechanism of this drug therapy. How would the body somehow adjust insulin uptake to prevent hypo or hyperglycemia? This treatment sounds like it's for a smaller, select group of diabetics who's pancreas is underperforming, but still functional.
wiyosaya
not rated yet Jul 14, 2010
What an ignorant comment. "Big pharma" as you blame-it-on-someone liberals like to claim are evil is actually doing something great here. They did not cause diabetes, and cannot cure it since it would be rare for a pharmaceutical company to be able to make a cure for a genetic disease. If they could they would because it would be worth trillions. Anyhow, this discovery could change the daily lives of many with diabetes.

Interesting comment. To me, it suggests no first-hand experience with the disease.
wiyosaya
not rated yet Jul 14, 2010
Early or diabetes type I might have strong genetic reasons, but diabetes type II is mostly caused by poor nutrition. There are reports that by correcting one's nutrition, ie by diet change, diabetes II can, if not eliminated, at least managed much better with much less insulin. Diabetes II is not about insulin deficiency. It's more caused by insulin resistance, which needs to be corrected.

Exactly, but many people will not put in the effort required to modify their diet. Exercise will also help, however, many people will not put in that effort either. IMHO, our society has become one of wanting the fast cheap and easy. I do not see this as any of these if it ever comes to market. I have followed the progress of diabetes research for years since I have the condition, and I have rarely seen a "breakthrough" like this come to market.
wiyosaya
not rated yet Jul 14, 2010
Patients' insulin needs vary with exercise and diet, so I'm puzzled at the mechanism of this drug therapy. How would the body somehow adjust insulin uptake to prevent hypo or hyperglycemia? This treatment sounds like it's for a smaller, select group of diabetics who's pancreas is underperforming, but still functional.

It is good to see that someone has an understanding of the issue behind this.

To me, it sounds like this is an effort to cover the "basal" rate of insulin production like an insulin pump does. However, if the release of insulin by the "breakthrough" is truly uniform, I expect that it will require significant rigor that has the potential to detract from the quality of life of diabetics rather than add to it.

Before the protocol of multiple daily injections became standard, I started using it, and a doctor once comment to me, "Why would you want to do that?" In essence, I said, "because I am no longer a prisoner of my insulin."

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