Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

New Drug Combo Can Regenerate Insulin-Producing Cells in Diabetes Patients

By Mark Prvulovic - Feb 13, 2020 at 6:31PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

The research suggests a route to a whole new class of treatments for the common disease.

New research from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York has found that treatment with a combination of two different types of drugs can help restore insulin production in people with diabetes.

Diabetes is a condition in which the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin to properly regulate the sugar in a person's bloodstream (or to produce any). As a result, patients must either take insulin injections or other drugs to manage the condition.

However, the Icahn scientists have found that a combination of DYRK1A inhibitors and GLP-1 receptor agonists induces the pancreas's insulin-producing beta cells to regenerate at a remarkable rate. In human cell samples, the combination resulted in a 40% average increase in the number of functioning human beta cells. After successfully testing this in tissue samples and mice, the researchers believe that this discovery could lead to a new class of diabetes treatments.

Pills alongside an insulin vial, a syringe, and a glucose meter.

Image source: Getty Images.

"We are very excited about this new drug combination because for the first time ever, we are able to see rates of human beta cell replication that are sufficient to replenish beta cell mass in humans with diabetes," said Dr. Andrew Stewart, the study's lead author.

Other diabetes treatments

Most prescribed diabetes medications are classified as GLP-1 receptor antagonists, which work by stimulating the insulin production of a person's remaining healthy beta cells. These include drugs such as Eli Lilly's Trulicity, AstraZeneca's Bydureon, and Novo Nordisk's Victoza.

Other biotech companies, such as Semma Therapeutics, have been working on turning human stem cells into functioning insulin-producing cells. Semma was acquired by Vertex Pharmaceuticals in September.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning service.

Stock Advisor Returns
330%
 
S&P 500 Returns
115%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 05/21/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.