New diabetes drug also leads to weight loss

There are patients with type 2 diabetes a major need for safe treatments associated with weight loss. Mark Fineman describes in his thesis the development and mechanism of the new drug exenatide. He will be awarded on September 9 at VUMC.

Most currently available drugs for lowering blood sugar diabtespatiënten cause side effects like low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia) and weight gain. This leads to reduced compliance in patients. Especially the weight gain leads to aggravation of the already existing risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as insulin resistance, elevated blood fats and hypertension. There is a great need for safe treatments associated with weight loss.

The saliva of the Gila lizard
One of these newly developed treatment method is exenatide, a drug derived from a protein originally discovered in the saliva of the Gila lizard. This material has the same effect in humans as the common intestinal hormone glucagon-like peptide (GLP) -1. This gut hormone lowers blood sugar, stimulates insulin secretion and production during a meal and inhibits glucose increases the hormone glucagon. In addition, it inhibits gastric emptying so that an enhanced sense of saturation and so people eat less and lose weight. The action of GLP-1 is dependent on sugar, so it rarely hypoglycaemia may occur. Exenatide has the same beneficial effects of this substance, however, the advantage is that unlike the endogenous GLP-1, is not quickly broken.

Development and mechanism of action of exenatide Mark Fineman's thesis describes the development and mechanism of action of exenatide as a treatment for type 2 diabetes. Meanwhile, the drug available in two formulations: a preparation for twice daily administration, by injection under the skin (similar to the administration of other proteinaceous materials such as insulin) and a preparation that only once a week need to be sprayed. The latter is for patients who normally throughout the day are busy with their diabetes, a major step forward. Recently, this last formulation of exenatide approved in Europe as a treatment for patients with type 2 diabetes, in whom oral hypoglycaemic agents ineffective.

280 million people
Worldwide, approximately 280 million people with diabetes or diabetes mellitus, especially type 2 diabetes, once called onset diabetes called. In the longer term, this disease can damage the eyes, kidneys but also the heart and blood vessels. Diabetes disease has a detrimental effect on the quality of life of patients and also have a shortened life expectancy in general. The cost of the disease and its complications worldwide are currently estimated at about 418 billion U.S. dollars, and it is expected that in 2030 will further increase to 516 billion U.S. dollars.