Researchers may have discovered a protein in the liver that could lead to a cure for type 2 diabetes, according to a new study published in the February 19, 2002, issue of Nature Genetics. Doctors at the Medical College of Ohio found that this protein, called CEACAM1, helps to clear insulin from the blood.
Scientists have long believed that type 2 diabetes begins when the body stops responding to insulin, a condition known as insulin resistance. However, Sonia M. Najjar, PhD, believes that type 2 diabetes may begin even before insulin resistance starts. She and her colleagues found that increased body fat impaired the liver’s ability to clear insulin from blood in genetically engineered mice—a factor that can lead to type 2 diabetes.
According to the study, the liver protein the researchers identified can help to “regulate insulin sensitivity.”