ID Genetic Markers That Could Improve Effectiveness of Diabetes Therapies

Scientists have identified five genetic biomarkers that predict how well a type 2 patient will respond to the drug Actos. Their work could be the first step toward a system that would allow doctors to predetermine which drugs will best help each person with diabetes. 

Actos, manufactured by Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd., is a thiazolidinedione, a drug that improves insulin sensitivity while decreasing the quantity of glucose and glycated hemoglobin (hemoglobin that has glucose and other sugars bound to it) in the bloodstream.

The scientists, from the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine and the Translational Genomics Research Institute in Phoenix, found the five biomarkers as they were investigating why up to 40 percent of patients treated with Actos fail to respond with improvement in their insulin sensitivity.

The researchers’ findings, which were presented earlier this month in New Orleans during the 69th Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association, may eventually lead to the use of individuals’ distinct genetic markers to identify which drugs will work best to treat their diabetes-allowing for truly customized, individualized medicine. The findings may also encourage researchers to map other genetic markers that could lead to the design of more effective diabetes drugs. Finally, the research provides a greater understanding of how thiazolidinediones work, giving deeper insights into the mechanism of insulin sensitivity.

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