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article imageBlood pressure drug could reverse diabetes

By Tim Sandle     Nov 12, 2014 in Science
Birmingham - Researchers have found that a drug used to lower blood pressure has the potential to reverse the effect of diabetes. This has been shown, so far, in animal studies.
The study, which has been running for ten years, shows that a common blood pressure drug called verapamil can suspend and possibly reverse Type I diabetes. Type 1 is the rarer form of diabetes, affecting an estimated five per cent of those with the condition. Its associated symptoms can include a constant thirsty feeling, weight loss and fatigue and, currently, there is no way to prevent its onset.
In the experiments, according to the Jamaican Observer, it appears that verapamil is effective on beta cells. These are the pancreatic cells that manufacture the insulin required to keep blood sugar volumes in check. In Type I diabetes these cells often malfunction.
Higher than normal blood sugar levels cause overabundant TXNIP (Thioredoxin-interacting protein) amounts. The high levels of TXNIP act against insulin production. It seems that verapamil is able to bring the protein's levels down to a normal level. With some of the animal trials, some mice were ‘cured’ of diabetes.
Verapamil (brand names: Isoptin, Verelan, Verelan PM, Calan, Bosoptin, Calaptin, Covera-HS) is traditionally used in the treatment of hypertension, cardiac arrhythmia, and cluster headaches.
Following the issuing on a multi-million dollar grant, as indicated in a research note, the science team behind the study will examine if the drug has the same effect on humans. For the human clinical trial, 52 people will participate. The people will be drawn from men and women aged between 19 and 45, and they divided into groups with half receiving the blood pressure drug. The other half will be administered a placebo. The trial will run for one year.
This study is important because it is not known if the drug will have the same effect on human beta cells.
The research was carried out at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
More about Blood pressure, Diabetes, Type 1 diabetes
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