Could Verapamil Completely Reverse Diabetes?

Diabetes is the one of the major cause of death in the US, increasing risks for heart attack, blindness, kidney problems and limb amputation. But scientists who have found that a general blood pressure medicine completely reverses diabetes in mice are about to start a new clinical study to see if it can do the same for human beings.

If the study is successful, it could herald the initial “cure” for an not curable disease that impacts 12.3% of People in America over the age of 20 and costs the country $245 billion every year.

The key to the ground-breaking method that has been verified effective in mice are beta cells, which the investigators describe are “critical” in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. These cells are gradually lost in the wake of the disease because of programmed cell death, although the precise triggers for the deaths were formerly unfamiliar.

The investigators, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and lead by Dr. Anath Shalev, have been doing work on this study for more than ten years in UAB’s Comprehensive Diabetes Center.

They describe that their earlier research has proven that high blood sugar leads to an overproduction of a protein known as TXNIP – which is elevated within beta cells in reaction to diabetes. Excessive TXNIP in pancreatic beta cells leads to their deaths, preventing the body’s initiatives to generate insulin and additional promoting diabetes.

On the other hand, in animal models, the group has identified that verapamil – used to deal with high blood pressure, infrequent heartbeat and migraine headaches – decreases TXNIP levels in beta cells.

Actually, in mice with established diabetes and blood sugars more than 300 mg/dL, verapamil “eradicated” the disease.

Study will not consist of immunosuppressive drugs

Now, the UAB investigators have obtained a 3-year, $2.1 million grant from JDRF – the biggest charitable supporter of type 1 diabetes research – to perform a clinical study in human beings.

Leaving comments on the upcoming study, Dr. Shalev says:

“That is a proof-of-concept that, by decreasing TXNIP, even in the context of the worst diabetes, we have valuable effects. And all of this details the major actual cause of the disease – beta cell loss.

Our present method tries to focus on this loss by promoting the individual’s own beta cell mass and insulin development. There is presently no treatment accessible that targets diabetes in this way.”

The study, which will start enrolling processes early up coming year, will consist of 52 individuals aged 19-45 within 3 months of getting a type 1 diabetes diagnosis. They will then be randomized to get either verapamil or a placebo for 1 year while ongoing insulin pump treatment.

The individuals will also be equipped with ongoing glucose monitoring system so they can evaluate their blood sugar consistently throughout the day.

A unique function of this study is that it will not consist of the use of any immunosuppressive or immune modulatory drugs, which bring severe side effects and are applied in most type 1 diabetes studies.

“This study is dependent on a well-known blood pressure drugs that has been used for over 30 years and is not likely to have any serious side effects,” adds Dr. Shalev, who also notices that their research is supported by a wealth of data in various mouse models and human islets.