3 Diabetes Breakthroughs

FRESNO, Calif.

By studying bugs, entomologist Bruce Hammock, Ph.D., from the University of California, Davis, created a first-of-its kind diabetic drug.

"We were asking how caterpillars turned into butterflies," Hammock told Ivanhoe. "We found this enzyme in insects that control metamorphosis."

The enzyme is also found in humans and controls lipids. Taken like aspirin, it can remove the joint pain diabetics endure.

A breakthrough awaiting FDA approval right now would allow type 1 and type 2 diabetics to end their insulin injections. An inhaled-powder called insulin Afrerzza is absorbed through the lungs. Taken with food, it controls the boost in blood sugar levels diabetics deal with following a meal.

Daniel Albright is testing an old drug with a new purpose. He's getting monthly infusions of an arthritis drug called abatacept.

"When you're first diagnosed with diabetes, you have anywhere from 10 to 30 percent of your insulin-producing cells still available, and we'd like to freeze it there," William Russell, M.D., director of pediatric endocrinology & diabetes at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, told Ivanhoe.

The drug keeps Daniel's immune system from killing the insulin-producing cells he has left. In animals, it prevented the rise of full-blown diabetes. For Albright, it means using less insulin and no pump.

"I still don't have to take near as much as I would," Albright said. "I'm pretty thankful for that."

Not all breaking news is taking place in the lab. Something as simple as eating bran could have a major impact on the lives of diabetics as well. A new Nurses Health Study reveals women with type two diabetes who ate the most bran had a 35-percent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Melissa Medalie at mmedalie@ivanhoe.com.

American Diabetes Association

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