Altered Insulin

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Imagine being able to “turn on” your insulin, telling it when to start working, instead of having to take your injections at certain times during the day. Researchers from the University of California at San Diego believe they may have discovered a way to do this—at least in rats.

Dr. Jerrold M. Olefsky and colleagues have developed a method to alter insulin so that it remains dormant in the body until a drug containing an antibody is taken.

In a report published in the November 6, 2001, issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, these researchers explain that the dormant insulin can be activated by adding a protein called catalytic aldolase antibody (or 38C2). When tested in cells, the modified (dormant) insulin was 90 percent less likely to process glucose and 96 percent less likely to stimulate transport of glucose. When tested in rats, the modified insulin was 55 percent less likely to stimulate glucose transport. When researchers added the antibody 38C2, it restored the insulin to normal function, allowing it to lower glucose levels.

The researchers speculate that these results could have a “therapeutic application” for treating diabetes.

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