Hormone May Help Diabetes Patients

DALLAS, Oct. 13 (UPI) — Leptin — a hormone formed in fat cells — may help stabilize sugar levels in those with type 1 diabetes, U.S. researchers say.

Mouse studies led by Dr. Roger Unger at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas determined leptin helps in the conversion of simple sugars into fatty acids.

Southwestern researchers are recruiting 12 to 15 type 1 diabetes patients between the ages of 18-50 and of normal weight to participate in a study that adds metreleptin — a slightly modified form of leptin — to their standard insulin therapy over a five-month period.

“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,” principal investigator Dr. Abhimanyu Garg says in a statement.

The researchers emphasize the goal is not to find a replacement for insulin, but to obtain stable glucose levels. The theory is that adding leptin might allow a reduction in insulin dose and lower the risk of low blood glucose levels.

“If it works in humans as well as it does in rodents, it will be a major step forward,” Unger says.

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