Are we closer to a cure for type 2 diabetes?


by KING 5 HealthLink

Posted on November 1, 2010 at 5:25 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 4 at 10:44 AM

Pricks, shots, and pumps are part of the daily routine for 23 million Americans who have diabetes.

That includes Earl Rutledge. His Type 2 diabetes led to a foot ulcer and near amputation.

"When I started walking, I started dragging my foot,  just to compensate for the pain and stuff," he said.

For the first time, researchers are using diabetes and cure in the same sentence.

Researcher Donald Jump at Oregon State University found a way to eliminate Type 2 diabetes in mice.

"We saw that certain enzymes were being repressed by the high-fat diet," he said.

That enzyme is called fatty acid elongase-five. The more fat we eat, the less of the enzyme we produce. So, when researchers boosted the production of the enzyme in mice livers, they were cured of their diabetes in five days.

"The animals' hyperglycemia disappeared, and their fatty liver disappeared, and their insulin resistance disappeared. We were very dazzled by this outcome," said Dr. Jump.

The enzyme, which one day would be incorporated into a new drug strategy, also lowered blood sugar to normal levels and reduced triglyceride levels.

Now researchers need to find the mechanism behind it.