Diabetes Treatment Could be Tied to Toxic Clumps

Researchers in Great Britain and Australia believe they have found a commonality that could help the treatment of two types of diabetes.

Researchers in Great Britain and New Zealand believe they have found a commonality that could help the treatment of two types of diabetes.

The teams from the University of Manchester and University of Auckland reported study results that suggest type 1 and type 2 diabetes could be caused by the formation in the pancreas of “toxic clumps” of a hormone called amylin.

The study results were published in The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

By prescribing medications and treatments that would stop the amylin and the resulting clumps from forming, the researchers said the effects of the disease could be stopped or at least slowed.

Amylin is produced in the pancreas much like insulin, making for similarities in their role and makeup.

“If they are no longer produced, then levels of sugar in the blood rise resulting in diabetes and causing damage to organs such as the heart, kidneys, eyes and nerves if blood sugar levels aren’t properly controlled,” said a news release that accompanied publication of the study.

In some people the amylin can collect in the clumps as deposits around cells in the pancreas. This, the researchers noted, can destroy the cells that produce both the insulin and amylin a person’s body needs. “The consequence of this cell death is diabetes,” the statement said.

Leading the research for this study was Garth Cooper, a professor at the University of Manchester who had released prior research showing the connection between the toxic clumps and type 2 diabetes. He said the new work shows it could also be tied to type 1 patients.

The statement from the schools noted the biggest difference between the two conditions is that patients with type 1 see their condition develop more rapidly due in part to “more rapid deposition of toxic amylin clumps in the pancreas.”

Cooper said the goal is to have clinical trials in the next two years with medications that could help treat the toxic clumps. The studies, he said, would include patients with both types of diabetes.