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TGen and USC researchers find genetic markers to help fight diabetes
Date:6/16/2009

PHOENIX, Ariz. June 16, 2009 Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) scientists have identified five genetic biomarkers that could help lead to improved treatments, with fewer side-effects, for patients with diabetes.

TGen Senior Investigator Dr. Johanna DiStefano presented the findings in New Orleans on June 6, 2009, at the 69th Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association.

"We identified genetic variants that may predict how well someone will respond to the common anti-diabetes drug, Actos,'' said Dr. DiStefano, Director of TGen's Diabetes, Cardiovascular & Metabolic Diseases Division. "The implications of these findings include determining which patients will best respond to the drug for the prevention or treatment of diabetes. In addition, this work lays the foundation for personalized medicine for patients with this disease.''

Personalized medicine involves the rapid application of laboratory discoveries to therapies, depending on the individual genetic make-up of each patient.

A TGen-led team, working with scientists from the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine, investigated why as many as 30-40 percent of diabetes patients treated with thiazolidinediones (TZDs), such as Actos, fail to respond to the drug with the expected improvement in insulin sensitivity.

TZDs are a class of insulin-sensitizing drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). TZDs are agonists for the nuclear receptor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-g (PPARG). Although the exact mechanism by which TZDs act is not yet known, data indicate that TZDs improve insulin sensitivity by direct and indirect effects on adipose tissue and muscle. TZD therapy can significantly lower diabetes incidence in at-risk subjects, suggesting this treatment may be an effective means to prevent the disease.

Previously, TGen and Keck investigators found that genetic variations in the PPARG gene w
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Contact: Steve Yozwiak
syozwiak@tgen.org
602-343-8704
The Translational Genomics Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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