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UT Southwestern study to determine whether leptin helps type 1 diabetes patients
Date:10/10/2010

DALLAS Oct. 11, 2010 A clinical trial at UT Southwestern Medical Center aims to determine whether adding the hormone leptin to standard insulin therapy might help rein in the tumultuous blood-sugar levels of people with type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes.

This is the first type 1 diabetes treatment trial involving leptin, which is naturally produced by fat cells and involved in body-weight regulation. For this study, UT Southwestern researchers will be using metreleptin, a slightly modified form of the hormone that has been well-tolerated in other clinical trials.

"Leptin has been very effective in improving diabetes in patients with lipodystrophies who have extreme lack of body fat, and recently leptin therapy has helped improve blood sugar control in animal models of type 1 diabetes," said Dr. Abhimanyu Garg, professor of internal medicine and principal investigator of the trial. "Although we have no assurances that this will work in humans, we hope that the addition of leptin will be beneficial to patients with type 1 diabetes."

The phase 1 study also is designed to evaluate the safety and tolerability of adding leptin to a diabetes treatment regimen.

In type 1 diabetes, formerly known as juvenile-onset diabetes, the pancreatic beta cells that produce insulin are destroyed by an autoimmune process. Type 1 diabetics must regiment their diets and take insulin multiple times a day to control blood-sugar levels and prevent diabetic coma. The autoimmune disease, for which there is no cure, affects about 1 million people in the U.S.

Insulin treatment has been the gold standard for type 1 diabetes since its discovery in 1922. The laboratory of Dr. Roger Unger, professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern, previously found that insulin's benefit resulted from its suppression of glucagon, a hormone produced by the pancreas that raises blood-sugar levels in healthy individuals.

More recently, Dr. Unger'
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Contact: Kristen Holland Shear
kristen.hollandshear@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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