A new treatment for patients with type 2 diabetes could be on the horizon. Researchers recently discovered that Yohimbin, a medication that spent several years in de-registered status, is actually successful at blocking the damaging effects of gene variants that inhibit insulin production. If it becomes a clinical drug, personalized treatment may finally be available for patients who are battling type 2 diabetes.
Studying Yohimbin and Stress-Related Diabetes
In 2009, Lund University researchers reported that a common gene variant is responsible for making the cells that produce insulin sensitivity to stress hormones. This sensitivity can then impair the ability of cells to secrete insulin. To study this theory, 50 patients with type 2 diabetes were recruited: 24 participants had the risk variant, while 21 participants did not.
When the patients were given Yohimbin, it was found that each participant had a greater capacity of insulin secretion. Researchers believe that the drug could be effective for about 40% of patients who suffer from type 2 diabetes, as that portion of the population are carriers of the risk gene. The facts that the drug has been around for some time and has already been inspected for safety make the results even more promising.
Experiments in both animal and human cells showed promising signs for Yohimbin in the fight against type 2 diabetes. The drug worked to neutralize the effects of the risk gene, and carriers of this gene gained the ability to secrete insulin in the same manner as cells without this risk variant. According to researchers from Lund University in Sweden, the ability to personalize treatment based on the risk profile of an individual patient has great potential in the medical community, and the findings of their study were recently published in Science Translational Medicine. However, more patients will need to test the substance before it is able to become a clinical drug available for public distribution.