Scientists make diabetes drug using apple tree bark

7 years ago by in Japan

Japanese scientists have discovered a new way for diabetics to control their blood sugar. The new drug “does not fall far from the tree”, as it contains an active ingredient found in the bark of apple trees.

The diabetes drug was made in the laboratories of Tanabe, Japan, and will be sold in the United States. The Japanese scientists used a compound called phlorozin, which is found in the bark of apple tress and other fruit trees and which has been studied in connection with diabetes for more than 100 years.

Studies showed that phlorizin could block reabsorption of glucose in the kidney, the international press reports. That means the kidneys can eliminate more glucose into the urine, helping diabetics to drop their blood sugar in a more efficient way.

However, some doctors in the United States have warned the drug may not be so safe for patients with impaired kidneys.

It is not the first time when Japanese scientists develop new drugs based on ingredients found in nature. Such treatments include the multiple-sclerosis drug Gilenya from an insect-invading fungus and a breast-cancer drug Halaven, derived from a sea sponge.