December 2010 newsletter news: Fat cell hormone might help glucose control

In November the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced that they have entered into a research collaboration agreement to provide financial support for a clinical proof-of-concept study to investigate the effects of metreleptin, an analog of the human hormone leptin, in patients with type 1 diabetes. Researchers at The University of Texas (UT) Southwestern Medical Center will conduct the study.

Prior studies in animals with type 1 diabetes showed an improvement in blood glucose, blood fats, and cholesterol following administration of the hormone.

The clinical study will help to determine if similar improvements in glucose, and reduction of the amount of insulin required, can be achieved in people with type 1 diabetes. Leptin is a hormone secreted by fat cells that plays a fundamental role in the regulation of glucose metabolism.

“Better blood glucose control means healthier living for people with type 1 diabetes,” said Aaron Kowalski, Ph.D., Assistant Vice President of Treatment Therapies at JDRF. “If effective in humans, metreleptin, when used with insulin, could change the way people manage their disease. Less insulin usage and fewer low blood sugar episodes would represent a significant improvement in quality of life for certain people living with type 1 diabetes today.”

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