New Diabetes Tx May Safely Increase Insulin Secretion
A drug being developed by the pharmaceutical company Takeda could increase insulin secretion for diabetes patients without significantly raising the risk of a dangerous hypoglycemic attack. On February 26th 2012, the online journal "The Lancet" published a study funded by Takeda showing that the medication, TAK-875, works by activating a free fatty acid receptor. A mere 2% of the study participants who got the new drug developed hypoglycemia, a condition in which blood sugar is so low that it can lead to seizures or even death. In a control group that received the drug called glimepiride, 19% of the patients experienced low blood sugar. The patients' mean age was 52, and a little more than half of the 426 participants were women.
According to MedPageToday, lead researcher Charles F. Burant, MD and his colleagues at the University of Michigan reported that "The mechanism of increased insulin secretion is probably a direct effect of TAK-875 on activation of beta-cell FFAR1, increasing the levels of intracellular secondary messengers that augment insulin secretion." They cautioned, however, that their study was not very long and that they used a relatively small sample, meaning that further trials are warranted.