Front Page

2015 MAPD and PDP open enrollment
How you can help fight Medicare fraud
How doctors fight Medicare fraud
How we fight Medicare fraud
When BCBSIL calls
Cheap drugs aren't always a good deal

Get your flu shot, pneumonia too
What to do with outdated drugs
Tips for taking drugs safely
Treat cholesterol to treat diabetes
Link between stress, depression and heart health
How to have a healthier holiday
Why you should gather important documents
Download an important documents checklist
When friends move away
Surviving empty nest syndrome
Keep everyone updated with Caring Bridge
What to see, eat and buy in Santa Fe
Understanding Native Americans
Dramatic depiction of slavery
Women and war
Restaurant safety
Food safety at home
How to safely cut a melon
Play our 'Mystery Game'
Crossword puzzle
Sudoku puzzle
Word search puzzle
Medicare Basics
Recent News
Current Issue
Previous Issues
About LifeTimes Newsletter
Sign up to get LifeTimes by email

  facebook twitter youtube
  Learn more

Share |
Latest News

Mutated gene cuts Type 2 diabetes risk by 65 percent

The discovery of a human gene mutation that decreases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by two-thirds may be the key to a promising new gene-based approach to treating or preventing diabetes.

Researchers at the Broad Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital led an international team of researchers in a study looking at the impact of a single gene mutation on diabetes risk.  The team analyzed the genomes of 150,000 people in Sweden, Finland, and Iceland and found that those with the mutant gene SLC30A8 had a 65 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, regardless of age, weight, or other factors typically associated with diabetes.

It's the first time mutated genes have proven helpful in diabetes research, says Louis Philipson, director of the University of Chicago's Kovler Diabetes Center. "For drug development, this is very powerful." Philipson was not involved in the study.

Type 2 diabetes results when the body can no longer produce enough insulin on its own, but those with the mutation seemed resistant to developing diabetes. Test subjects were fat and skinny, young and old, healthy and sick, exercisers and couch potatoes. Many drank and smoked. Oddly, none of that mattered in the folks with the mutation.

All that did matter was that those with the rare SLC30A8 mutation were less likely to develop the disease.  The exact way the altered gene exerts this effect is unclear.

Many scientists doubted the study could be valid, since the same mutation in mice lab tests led to the opposite result – mice made less insulin and were more likely to develop diabetes. This mystery is yet to be solved. But researchers say human findings warrant more study that could lead to a drug to prevent Type 2 diabetes in a wide range of adults. It could be 10 or more years away, they caution.

The project was published in the March 2014 issue of "Nature Genetics." Drug firms Pfizer and Amgen and several universities cooperated. The National Institutes of Health funded one academic study.

Learn how 10 drugs companies are working together to develop new drugs faster and more cost effectively.