New Link Between Obesity and Diabetes Found
About 25.8 million people in the U.S. and 347 million people worldwide have diabetes (mostly type 2). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year, about 6 percent of people with pre-diabetes develop type 2 diabetes; unless they make lifestyle changes, about 15 to 30 percent will develop diabetes within five years. “In addition to improving insulin sensitivity and glucose levels, our data suggest to us that a drug that inhibits MK2 could prevent the progression of pre-diabetes to full diabetes,” Dr. Tabas said.
Such a drug could protect the cells that produce insulin. “As the disease progresses, the insulin-producing cells have to put out more and more insulin to deal with the ever-increasing amounts of glucose in the bloodstream. Eventually, they burn out and the patient must use insulin,” Dr. Tabas said. “If we can protect the pancreas’s beta cells from the stress of dealing with high glucose, we may be able to prevent or delay progression to full diabetes.”
Drs. Tabas and Ozcan are planning to test this hypothesis with pre-diabetic mice.