Local Researchers Make Major Diabetes Breakthrough

By Michelle Wayland
|  Thursday, May 12, 2011  |  Updated 12:32 PM PDT
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Local Researchers Make Major Diabetes Breakthrough

Test-tube shots, or lab specimens? We're willing to find out the hard way.

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The Salk Institute announced a major research breakthrough to help those with diabetes on Thursday.

Researchers at the Institute in La Jolla studied how the widely used diabetes drug, Metformin, works in the body and tried to find out what it regulates.

“So we’ve both discovered a new drug target and we’ve figured out how and why it works,” said Dr. Reuben Shaw.

They found that a type of enzyme, not known to be active in the liver, is directly involved in the production of blood glucose and the diabetes drug inhibits those enzymes, dramatically lowering blood glucose.

"Combinations with this and other drugs may help alleviate diabetes even more than anything we have today,” said Shaw.

He says the goal of the research is to come up with better medicines.

“That's the real point, is to make better medicines based off our understanding of how the cell works and how these genes work,” said Shaw.

Dr. Shaw says these findings will hopefully lead to more effective medicines for type one and type 2 diabetes within the next five years.

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