For World Diabetes Day, DDW’s Diana Spencer provides an overview of the latest innovations in the treatment of the disease. Here are 2022’s five most significant discoveries (in no particular order):
1. Human beta cell model
Earlier this year, Human Cell Design, a biotechnology company focused on generating translational human cellular models, launched Endoc-BH5 to “open up entirely new scientific avenues in diabetes studies”, the company says.
Human Cell Design combined hiPSC-derived differentiated cells (human-induced Pluripotent Stem Cells) and primary cell models with its proprietary NatLine amplification and maturation platform to “bridge the gap” between its previous versions and native human pancreatic beta cells.
2. Alternative to insulin
Early-stage biopharma company Atrogi initiated a Phase I study for its drug candidate ATR-258 targeting type 2 diabetes in Germany, which is expected to announce results at the end of the year.
Based on research into adrenergic signaling by professor Tore Bengtsson at Stockholm University, ATR-258 is a small molecule therapy that works by selectively stimulating b2-adrenergic receptors to translocate GLUT4 to the cell membrane.
3. AAV vectors for diabetes gene therapy
A collaboration between PerkinElmer’s SIRION Biotech business and the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) agreed to jointly develop new generation adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors for type 1 and type 2 diabetes gene therapy in the pancreas.
The end goal is to develop AAV vectors that target specific pancreatic cell types and contain payloads that express therapeutic genes under control of cell-specific regulatory elements. This new approach aims to increase the precision, safety, and efficacy of future AAV based gene therapies for diabetes.
4. A step closer to preventing type 1 diabetes
Australian researchers identified a crucial protein that could prevent type 1 diabetes from taking hold.
Mater Research and University of Queensland researchers developed a biological agent, sRAGE, that boosts white blood cell function which is damaged in individuals who develop type 1 diabetes.
Professor Forbes, Professor of Medicine at The University of Queensland, said: “Our pre-clinical studies indicate this agent will be safer and far less intrusive than current treatments being tested for type 1diabetes prevention, such as regulatory T-cell infusions.”
5. New class of treatment
The first GIP and GLP-1 receptor agonist was authorised for the treatment of adults with type 2 diabetes in Great Britain.
UK marketing authorisation was granted for Eli Lilly’s tirzepatide (Mounjaro), a once-weekly GIP (glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide) receptor and GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) as an adjunct to diet and exercise.
Tirzepatide was approved as monotherapy when metformin is inappropriate due to intolerance or contraindications or in addition to other medicinal products.