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Rheumatoid arthritis drug could help lower blood sugar levels

Raghu Kshitiz

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Rheumatoid arthritis drug could help lower blood sugar levels. Representational image

BEIJING — A common rheumatoid arthritis drug may be an effective new therapy for lowering blood glucose levels in patients with Type-2 diabetes, a new study has said.

Researchers from the Institute of Comparative Medicine at Yangzhou University in China have discovered that the anti-inflammatory drug leflunomide has highly beneficial effects on diabetes sufferers. And, the findings could offer an exciting alternative to current treatments for Type 2 diabetes.

“We found that lefluonomide targets a protein involved in desensitising the insulin receptor, which is responsible for instructing the cells to start absorbing sugar from the bloodstream”, Xiulong Xu, Professor at the Institute of Comparative Medicine at Yangzhou University in China, said in a paper published in the Journal of Endocrinology.

“We know some inflammatory factors can also desensitise the insulin receptor, and lefluonamide is an anti-inflammatory, so it may be that it controls blood sugar partly by its anti-inflammatory effect,” Xu said.

Researchers said the findings suggested the same therapy could now be introduced as an effective anti-diabetic treatment for humans. They said it would be particularly suitable for patients with both diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

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Rheumatoid arthritis, affecting approximately one per cent of the worldwide population, is a chronic autoimmune condition that causes pain and swelling in the joints.

The anti-inflammatory drug, lefluonamide, lowered blood glucose levels and reversed insulin resistance in mouse models of Type 2 diabetes, which suggests that this therapy could be repurposed as an effective antidiabetic treatment, particularly suitable for patients with both diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

Lefluonamide has long been approved to treat rheumatoid arthritis and previous clinical studies have noted that patients taking the drug tended to have lower blood glucose levels and that obese patients lost weight.

However, lefluonomide also acts on other molecular targets in the body. This suggests that more studies are needed to confirm that the anti-diabetic effects observed are solely caused by lefluonamide’s effect on the insulin receptor.

The next step according to Xu is to conduct clinical trials to test if the antidiabetic effect of lefluonamide also occurs in humans as well as mice.

With Agency Inputs

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Single blood test might be enough to diagnose diabetes

Gorkha Post

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A new study report has suggested that it may be possible to diagnose type 2 diabetes by measuring fasting blood glucose and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) using the same blood sample without requiring a patient to come back for a second visit and saving patients time and health care cost.

The findings, from the prospective Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study, were published online June 19 in Annals of Internal Medicine by Elizabeth Selvin, PhD, of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, and colleagues.

Until now, it’s recommended that a blood test focused on elevated fasting levels of blood sugar (glucose) or a blood component called glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) be confirmed with a second blood test at a follow-up visit which takes time and money and could still result in missed diagnoses, said a team from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.

In the new study, researchers led by Hopkins epidemiologist Elizabeth Selvin looked at data on more than 13,000 people in a long-running US heart disease study. The study began in the 1980s, and along the way has recorded valuable data from participants, including diabetes test data.

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The team analyzed that data, and reported that a positive result for glucose and HbA1c from just a single blood sample can confirm type 2 diabetes.

” This could change care potentially allowing a major simplification of current clinical practice guidelines,” Selvin said in a university news release.

“Doctors are already doing these [glucose and HbA1c] tests together — if a patient is obese, for example, and has other risk factors for diabetes, the physician is likely to order tests for both glucose and HbA1c from a single blood sample.

“It’s just that the guidelines don’t clearly let you use the tests from that one blood sample to make the initial diabetes diagnosis,” she explained.

“I’m hoping that these results will lead to a change in the clinical guidelines when they are revised in early 2019, which could make identifying diabetes a lot more efficient in many cases,” Selvin said.

Diabetes experts welcomed the findings.

With Agency Inputs

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