A team of scientists in Japan said on Thursday they are one step closer to creating an oral treatment for Type 2 diabetes, a disease that is widely spreading in the increasingly obese world.
Scientists at the University of Tokyo said they have created a compound that helps the body to control level of glucose present in the bloodstream.
Glucose fuels the organs all over the body, so they can have enough energy to work properly, but a high level of glucose in the bloodstream is bad news. In some people it leads to Type 2 diabetes, a condition that can cause heart disease, strokes and kidney failure.
Doctors say the incidence of Type 2 diabetes has grown massively during the last tens of years, mostly due to the growing number of overweight people.
The level of adiponectin – a hormone that regulates glucose and increases the effectiveness of insulin – is lower in the body of obese people, studies have shown.
Japanese scientists have created a compound called AdipoRon that imitates the effects of the hormone.
AdipoRon could be “a lead compound” in a possible oral treatment for diabetes, according to Toshimasa Yamauchi, a member of the research team.
Doctors advise patients with Type 2 diabetes to respect their diet and to exercise, but the researchers said that sometimes proves too much of a challenge. “Dietary therapy is not easy even for healthy people, no matter whether or not they are obese or have disease,” they said.
“A compound that could imitate dietary and exercise treatments and realise health benefits” has long been a desired goal in the field, said the team.
According to the World Health Organisation, around 347 million people worldwide have diabetes, with half of all patients dying of cardiovascular disease.