Scientists discover that cancer drugs might help restore insulin production in patients with diabetes

Scientists have discovered a method that may eliminate the need for regular insulin injections for people with diabetes.

In 2021, 38.4 million Americans (11.6 percent of the population) were projected to have diabetes – 29.7 million were diagnosed while 8.7 million were undiagnosed. At least two million Americans have Type 1 diabetes, including an estimated 304,000 children and adolescents.

The research team, which was spearheaded by Sam El-Osta of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, identified two drugs previously approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States for rare cancers that can rapidly restore insulin production in cells damaged by diabetes.

For Type 1 diabetes, which represents about 10 percent of all diabetes cases in Australia, the immune system destroys pancreatic cells. Because of this, patients require daily insulin injections to manage their condition.

Details of the study, which was conducted by scientists from Melbourne’s Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, were published in the journal Nature on Jan. 1. (Related: Study: Consistent intermittent fasting can cause remission in over 50% of patients with Type 2 diabetes.)

Researchers reported that when stimulated by small molecule inhibitors in the cancer medications, the cells were found to respond to glucose and produce insulin within 48 hours. The researchers are hopeful that this therapy could also benefit the 30 percent of Australians living with Type 2 diabetes who may eventually need insulin injections.

El-Osta said this regenerative approach could be an important advance toward clinical development. He added that before the study, “the regenerative process has been incidental, and lacking confirmation.”

How diabetes affects the body

Diabetes is an autoimmune disease where a patient’s blood glucose levels are too high. While diabetes affects children and adults, its causes are still not fully understood.

The autoimmune destruction of native beta cells responsible for insulin release characterizes Type 1 diabetes.

Current treatments include regularly monitoring one’s blood glucose levels by administering multiple daily insulin injections, insulin pumps, or getting a pancreas transplant.

However, these treatments often cause many side effects, prompting researchers to look for other alternative therapeutic approaches.

Meanwhile, Type 2 diabetes is linked to strong genetic and family-related risk factors. It is also associated with some modifiable lifestyle risk factors.

Patients develop the condition when their bodies become resistant to insulin’s normal effects. Eventually, the body will lose the ability to produce sufficient insulin in the pancreas.

This makes the pancreas compensate by producing more insulin. However, this is bad because this overproduction will eventually cause wear and tear on the insulin-producing cells, causing Type 2 diabetes.

The research team’s recent discovery marks the first time that a drug was identified to “rewire” insulin production in people with diabetes.

Diabetes and regenerative therapy

Keith Al-Hasani, a senior research fellow, explained that the next phase of research includes testing the regenerative approach in preclinical models before developing inhibitors as medications for those with diabetes.

The scientists hope that regenerative therapy could help solve the current problem of donor organ shortages and offer hope for the many people dealing with insulin-dependent Type 2 diabetes.

The diabetes epidemic affects at least two million Australians, with almost 120,000 developing the condition in 2023.

Globally, more than 530 million adults have diabetes, with the number expected to skyrocket to 643 million by 2030.

Sof Andrikopoulos, chief executive of the Australian Diabetes Society, commented that the new study could help improve the quality of life of those living with diabetes.

According to Andrikopoulos, those with Type 1 diabetes stay alive and manage their glucose by either injecting themselves three or four times a day with needles or using an insulin pump. He added that because of the study findings, one day people with diabetes may only need to inject themselves only once a day instead of four times.

He is hopeful that in the future, the study findings can be used to help patients who require these tedious treatments and that in time, they will eventually be cured.

Diabetes Australia is also hopeful about the research, adding that it is encouraging for people with Type 1 diabetes. A spokeswoman said research remains “critical in the fight to combat the diabetes epidemic.”

“It creates possibilities, changes lives, and gives hope to the millions of Australians living with, and at risk of developing diabetes,” concluded the Diabetes Australia spokeswoman.

Watch the video below to learn about DeWayne McCulley, a man who reversed his Type 2 diabetes.

This video is from the EnergyMe333 channel on

More related stories:

Here are some ways to lose weight and lower your blood sugar without fasting.

The Dr. Ardis Show: Dr. Seema Nanda discusses the effects of DIABETES on EYE HEALTH – Brighteon.TV.

Vitamin D found to prevent diabetes: STUDY.

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