July 17, 2014

A new injection for diabetes was found to show remarkable promise, a study in the prestigious journal Nature reported. The injection contained a protein called fibroblast growth factor, or FGF. These are a family of proteins involved in the growth of many tissues.

In this study, mice were bred to be missing this protein. As a result, they developed insulin resistance and diabetes after being fed a high-fat diet. A single dose of FGF was given and led to a strong blood sugar-lowering effect.

No Dangerous Side Effects

One of the most interesting things about this treatment was that the glucose lowering was not associated with the side effect of hypoglycemia, or a dangerously low blood sugar. This is in contrast to many diabetes drugs which commonly have this scary side effect. Also, there were no other side effects which are also frequently seen with diabetes medications, like weight gain, heart problems, or bone loss.

Strong Blood Sugar-Lowering Effects

In earlier studies, when the FGF protein was injected into healthy mice, there was no effect.  But in this study, they injected FGF into diabetic mice.  This led to an impressive drop in blood sugar, without the nasty hypoglycemia. This newly found ability of FGF to lower blood sugar is not related to the growth stimulating action that it is typically known for. It is able to improve insulin resistance, in a very effective way.

Future Directions

This injection has a potential role in the treatment of type 2 diabetes in humans. More research is needed before human trials can begin with this promising treatment.

Photo credit: Flickr User Zaldylmg