Three new ways to control diabetes

July 5, 2010 8:52:33 AM PDT
Three new breakthroughs in diabetes may help more people live a longer and more active life.

What do Thomas Edison, Elvis Presley and Jackie Gleason all have in common? The same thing they have in common with 23.5 million Americans today. Diabetes. Now, three new breakthroughs may help more people live a longer and more active life.

American idols, to American icons, to everyday Americans. Diabetes affects millions of lives, even causing 230,000 deaths a year. Now, a new drug, an old drug and some bugs, are helping to ease the suffering.

"We were asking how caterpillars turned into butterflies," said Bruce Hammock, PHD, Department of Entomology, University of California Davis, California.

By studying bugs, Bruce Hammock created a first-of-it's kind diabetic drug.

"We found this enzyme in insects that control metamorphosis.," said Dr. Hammock.

The enzyme is also found in humans and controls lipids. taken like aspirin, it can remove the joint pain diabetics deal with.

A breakthrough awaiting FDA approval right now would allow type one-and-two diabetics to end their insulin injections. An inhaled powder, insulin Afrerzza is absorbed through the lungs. Taken with food, it controls the boost in blood sugar levels diabetics deal with following a meal.

Daniel Albright is testing an old drug with a new purpose.

"When you're first diagnosed with diabetes you have anywhere from 10 to 30 percent of your insulin producing cells still available and we'd like to freeze it there," said Albright.

He's getting monthly infusions of an arthritis drug called Abata-cept. The drug keeps Daniel's immune system from killing the insulin-producing cells he has left. In animals, the drug prevented the rise of full-blown diabetes. For Daniel, it means using less insulin and no pump.

"I still don't have to take near as much as I would. I'm pretty thankful for that," said Albright.


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