Blood pressure drug reverses diabetes in mice
A common blood pressure medication has been found to reverse diabetes in mice and soon scientists at the University of Alabama at Birmingham will begin clinical trials to see if the same thing is possible with humans.
The randomized trial, set to begin in early 2015, will consist of 52 people between the ages of 19 and 45, who are within three months of having received a type 1 diabetes diagnosis. Blood sugar levels will be monitored daily, and all participants will maintain normal insulin-pump therapy. Some in the study will randomly be given the blood pressure drug, verapamil, while others will receive a placebo.
Verapamil, often used to treat migraines and irregular heartbeat in humans, has also reduced the levels of the protein TXNIP in animal trials. In people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, the destruction of beta cells has been linked to an increase of TXNIP in pancreatic beta cells. Lead researcher, Dr. Anath Shalev, said the results in animals indicates that, “by lowering TXNIP, even in the context of the worst diabetes, we have beneficial effects.”
Verapamil has been sold and used for more than 30 years and is not likely to produce severe side effects.
Researchers hope they are on the right track to finding a medication that does not just slow the rate of beta cell decline--and thus the rate of diabetes--but actually stops diabetes from progressing.