New Potential Avenues for Type-2 Diabetes Treatment May Hinge on Glucose Regulation

Biologics

type-2 diabetes treatment glucose regulation
Glucose regulation may be the key to discovering an effective form of type-2 diabetes treatment.
Image source: Flickr CC user Melissa Johnson

Over the past few years, the medical community’s approach to healthcare has changed. If you’ve visited your primary care physician within the last year or two, no doubt you’ve experienced firsthand the increased emphasis on preventative medicine. Some advice you might have received likely included exercise more, lose weight and watch your diet. With obesity rates in the United States skyrocketing, this renewed focus isn’t surprising—especially in light of the fact that obesity is linked to chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders.

One of these chronic diseases is type-2 diabetes, which is initially treated with a regimen similar to the one used to prevent obesity. Due to the connection between the two conditions, the overlap makes sense. In fact, preventing obesity is considered the first step to lowering your chances of developing type-2 diabetes. Like obesity, weight management through diet and exercise isn’t always an effective form of type-2 diabetes treatment. When these methods fail, patients often then turn to other therapies such as medication or insulin shots to control glucose levels. But with the price of insulin rising,1 there has been an increased interest in finding alternative type-2 diabetes treatment options.

The Need for New Type-2 Diabetes Treatment Options Is Caused by a Growing Patient Demographic

Due to the rising population of people with obesity, chances are high that there will be a corresponding increase in the number of patients who develop type-2 diabetes. The growth of this patient population will fuel the need for other therapies. One area that researchers have been focusing on is using biotherapeutics to modulate glucose levels, as overproduction of blood sugar is a key trait in the disorder. A recent discovery implicated a hormone in glucose regulation.2 Using an antibody to block this hormone could potentially lessen a patient’s dependence upon insulin and perhaps even help them to stop using it.

Other groups are also utilizing this strategy to develop monoclonal antibodies as a form of type-2 diabetes treatment. Researchers are currently studying a novel antibody that targets a carrier protein found in adipose tissue.3 Studies in mice have demonstrated the antibody’s efficacy in glucose regulation, suggesting that it could be another viable form of treatment. In addition, the biotherapeutic’s ability to target adipose tissue may mean it can be also used to treat obesity, as well as other metabolic conditions as well.

Identifying protein targets for monoclonal antibodies is only the first step in developing these innovative type-2 diabetes treatment options. Researchers must be able to process antibody sequence data, which in the discovery phase of the R&D cycle can be overwhelming. The capability to analyze sequence and activity data in conjunction is crucial in deciding which potential antibody candidates are the most promising, and therefore should be further developed. At this stage, for example, companies can determine whether a monoclonal antibody can serve as a biotherapeutic for multiple chronic conditions, which would add flexibility to their drug offering catalog. The link between type-2 diabetes and obesity implies that the same biotherapeutic could have a positive impact on both conditions. In fact, since obesity increases the risk of other conditions, the potential applications could be far greater than initially expected.

As with obesity, sometimes other forms of type-2 diabetes treatment beyond weight management are required. In the past, these methods have traditionally been oral medication or insulin injections. But in instances where the usual regimen remains ineffective, monoclonal antibodies provide a welcome alternative that may ultimately free a patient from strict treatment schedules and allow them to manage their condition more easily. To develop these much-desired biotherapeutics, life sciences organizations will need to optimize their data management protocols and drug discovery methods. By utilizing streamlined workflows, perhaps other new avenues for type-2 diabetes treatment can be found.

BIOVIA Biologics is an integrated suite of tools that enable life sciences organizations to streamline the discovery and development of innovative biotherapeutics. In addition to optimizing R&D workflows and making them more efficient, the Biologics solution allows researchers to manage the large volumes of antibody data generated during the discovery phases. Modeling and simulation capabilities enable researchers to study antibody structure-activity relationships to ascertain versatility. By gleaning valuable insights from the collected information, organizations can assess the viability of potential antibody candidates earlier in the R&D cycle. If your life sciences firm is interested in a digital solution that will support your efforts to discover and create innovative biotherapeutics that can treat life-impacting chronic conditions, please contact us today to learn more.

  1. “Innovation a factor in insulin drug prices tripling over past decade,” April 5, 2016, http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20160405/NEWS/160409942
  2. “Newly discovered hormone could fight type 2 diabetes and obesity,” April 14, 2016, https://www.newscientist.com/article/2084433-newly-discovered-hormone-could-fight-type-2-diabetes-and-obesity/
  3. “New treatment for diabetes uses monoclonal antibodies to target the hormones in fat tissues, reduces fatty liver,” January 6, 2016, http://www.ibtimes.com.au/new-treatment-diabetes-uses-monoclonal-antibodies-target-hormones-fat-tissues-reduces-fatty-liver