Inhibitor GSK-126: High Hope for Diabetics

There are hopes that researchers investigating whether pancreatic stem cell-like cells can be programmed into insulin-producing beta-cells for potential diabetes treatment, may have found a cure for diabetes.

According to reports, Melbourne, Australia-based research team say they have proof that insulin-regulating genes expression could be reactivated by using a drug previously investigated for treating patients with lymphomas and multiple myeloma. The finding means that the have latched on a possible new treatment option for diabetes patients who rely only on daily insulin injections.

The group, an Epigenetic research team from the Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, discovered that Investigational drug, GSK-126, has the potential to restore insulin-producing beta-cells in Type 1 diabetes patients by inhibiting pancreatic EZH2, a gene that, among other roles, inhibits genes responsible for the development of insulin-producing beta-cells.

In a paper published in the Nature journal, Signal Transduction and Targeted TherapyTrusted Source, the research group reportedly examined the effect of the highly selective EZH2 inhibitor, GSK-126, on specific genes related to insulin production. This, it did by using ex vivo human pancreatic tissues from three donors, two non-diabetic and one Type 1 diabetes donor.

In the course of the research, they analyzed the pancreas from the Type 1 diabetes donor and noted expectedly, absolute beta-cell destruction. According to the team, the genes that regulate beta-cell development and insulin production in these pancreatic cells were “silenced.”

Further investigation by the team revealed that stimulating the pancreatic cells with GSK-126 could restore the hallmark genes responsible for developing pancreatic progenitor cells, stem cell-like cells, into insulin-producing beta-cells.

Specifically, the team observed in the study which is the first reported example of restored insulin gene transcription and provides strong evidence for beta-cell regeneration, that GSK-126 also restored expression of the insulin gene in the cells taken from the Type 1 diabetes donor, despite absolute beta-cell destruction.

There are two broad types of diabetes. One is the Type 1 diabetes, formerly referred to as the insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes. Under the type, the body produces no hormone insulin and makes very little of it. It is more common in children and young adults.

The second is the Type 2, referred to as adult-onset diabetes. In the Type 2 case, the body produces insufficient insulin and does not properly use same. Type 2 diabetes begins later in life just as it is the commonest type, affecting between 90–95% of all cases.

The International Diabetic Federation, IDF, says Nigeria has the highest diabetes sufferers and people living with impaired fasting glucose in Africa. A 2020 meta-analysis reported that approximately 5.8%, about 6 million adult Nigerians, are suffering from diabetes.

The major challenge facing them is that with a near comatose health system, their fate is often left in utter uncertainty. With the advent of inhibitor GSK-126, they may have more reasons to hope for better surviving chances.

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