The discovery of how protein works in the liver could lead to a more effective drug for type 2 diabetes. The study led by the University of Melbourne found that SMOC1 protein – naturally produced by the liver – can reduce blood glucose levels. This points out an engineered form of the protein could potentially treat individuals with type 2 diabetes.
According to published data, type 2 diabetes affects more than one million adults in Australia and 400 million individuals globally, with this number rising fast. Furthermore, type 2 diabetes causes high levels of blood glucose, which could lead to nerve damage, cardiovascular disease, and kidney damage. Whilst current treatments for type 2 diabetes can be effective, it has limited tolerability and significant side effects.
To address this, the new class of SMOC1-based treatments could prove to be more effective for longer. The study finds that SMOC1 – a liver released glucose-responsive protein helped to improve blood sugar levels in animal samples with diabetes.
New Treatment pins hope to reduce risk of Chronic Diseases
“The increased prevalence of type 2 diabetes points at urgent need for new treatments to manage high blood glucose levels caused as a result,” said the lead author of the study.
“Any therapy that can lower blood glucose level in an effective manner can have an enormous impact on patients,” added the lead author of the study.
This is because it lowers the risk of developing chronic kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, risk of amputation, and injury to blood vessels which leads to blindness.
For the study, the researchers developed a long-lasting form of SMOC1. The engineered protein lowered blood glucose levels in diabetic animal models. The existence of SMOC1 known, but its role in regulating blood glucose unknown, added the lead researcher.