Protein that lowers blood sugar may be new oral diabetic agent for type 1 patients….
Note: The following article was adapted from an original article, Insulin’s Little Helper: A New Pill for Type 1 Diabetes?, published on the Diabetes Mine site, April 10, 2013.
SOGA, a protein that lowers blood glucose, is missing in type 1 patients. SOGA is released when insulin is released and works by blocking the production of glucose when food is being consumed. The protein begins to work when eating so excess glucose is not produced. This does not occur in diabetic patients.
In both type 1 and 2 patients the body overproduces the amount of glucose it actually needs. Every person produces the excess glucose to different degrees.
The developer is working on a drug that will stop the body’s production of its own glucose. The new drug would stimulate the SOGA production to decrease the glucose production, lowering blood glucose levels.
This protein is released at the same time as insulin, and it blocks the production of glucose from the liver when food is being consumed. The liver continually pumps out small amounts of sugar to keep glucose levels stable but when food is being consumed, there’s no need for extra glucose, so SOGA usually kicks in.
The body is really overproducing the amount of glucose it needs. The body of a type 1 or type 2 PWD overproduces glucose to different degrees. So the reason blood sugar goes so high after a meal is that patients are getting a double infusion of blood sugar, one from their own body’s production and one coming from the food.
Now, focusing on SOGA, the investigators are working on a drug that would stop the production of the body’s own glucose, akin to how a statin works to lower the body’s own production of cholesterol. Just like insulin, SOGA can’t be ingested, so the drug would be a formulation designed to stimulate the body’s own SOGA production.
In early studies, SOGA was raised in mice with blood sugar values of 400 mg/dL, and their blood sugar levels were brought down to normal levels within 4 days. When a pill that increased SOGA was given to mice without diabetes, nothing happened, leading the investigators to believe that SOGA could effectively lower blood sugar without causing hypoglycemia and that might eliminate the need for insulin entirely, at least in some people.