Artemisinin: Capable of Reversing Type 1 Diabetes?

For years, science has sought to achieve a very specific goal in diabetes research: find a way to replace diseased beta cells with functioning ones, thus reversing diabetes. Scientists have explored treatments with pig cells, stem cells, and protein implants, but have yet to find the right compound to achieve this goal.

But according to a new study published in Cell, the malaria drug artemisinin might do the trick.

Reshaping the Alpha Cells

How will artemisinin help type 1 diabetics manage their condition? According to study leader Stefan Kubicek, the drug “change[s] the epigenetic program of glucagon-producing alpha cells and induce profound alterations of their biochemical function.”

In the pancreas, alpha and beta cells combine with other cell types in the islets, where they work together to regulate blood glucose. In a type 1 diabetic's pancreas, the insulin-producing beta cells fail to do their job, resulting in the condition. However, the alpha and beta cells are flexible; according to various studies, alpha cells can replenish insulin producing cells if enough beta cells deteriorate. Of course, there needs to be an instigating compound – and that is where artemisinin comes in.

Kubicek's team found that artemisinins have a profound effect on alpha cells in the pancreas. In fact, they reshape alpha cells by binding to a protein called gephryin. Ultimately, this transformation results in the body producing insulin naturally once again.

Kubicek and his team tested this drug on diabetic zebrafish, mice, and rats, all to great effect – all test subjects showed greater beta cell mass and improved blood sugar control after taking artemisinins. While the team remains optimistic, they know that, "Obviously, the long term effect of artemisinins needs to be tested" in humans. But, as Kubicek says, “[W]e are confident that the discovery of artemisinins and their mode of action can form the foundation for a completely new therapy of type 1 diabetes."

Source: Science Daily

More Articles

Diabetic shoes are important as a common side effect of diabetes is "peripheral neuropathy," which causes loss of sensation in the extremities....

There’s something inherently playful about bouncing, which is why so many people enjoy rebounding. Rebounding, or exercising on a mini-trampoline...

Do not let pictures of yoga experts with their bodies twisted into bizarre, compact shapes fool you. Even people with stiff muscles, creaky joints...

One of the hardest parts about adopting a low-carb diet is giving up traditional baked goods and sweets. The good news, however, is that low-carb...

Insulin injections are a way of life for many people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, but for some people, they can be a little intimidating at...

More Articles

Improving your A1C reading requires you to maintain consistently healthy blood...

You may think beer, wine, and liquor would be categorized as food, but in reality, alcohol is a drug. Just like medications, alcohol has powerful...

While most physicians will tell you that your blood glucose will not be impacted by a flu shot, anecdotally there are reports of increased...

Experts estimate that somewhere in the world a person with diabetes will lose a lower extremity every half minute due to a wound. One of the...

One of the hardest parts about adopting a low-carb diet is giving up traditional baked goods and sweets. The good news, however, is that low-carb...

With such a marked increase in the number of new diabetes cases, more people are wondering if type 1 diabetes...

Anyone can develop a fungal skin infection, but people with diabetes are more prone to them. A common cause of fungal infections in those with...

Many diabetics struggle to control the sudden blood sugar spikes that can occur after meals. Knowing why blood sugar spikes happen and making...

Do not let pictures of yoga experts with their bodies twisted into bizarre, compact shapes fool you. Even people with stiff muscles, creaky joints...

Diabetes is a health condition that disrupts the body’s normal production of insulin. Currently, more than one million Americans are diagnosed...

Insulin injections are a way of life for many people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, but for some people, they can be a little intimidating at...

With diabetes, it all used to be really simple: Type 1 diabetes was known as “childhood-onset,” and type 2 was “adult-onset” diabetes. The cause...

People often get diabetes and hypoglycemia confused with one another, believing that they are two different names for the same condition. In...

The medical community relies heavily on the goodwill of its citizens, as giving blood and organ donations help save thousands of lives every year...

There are several misconceptions about Diabetes. Learn more about the top misconceptions vs. facts surrounding Type 2 Diabetes below.

86...