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New Groundbreaking Treatment for Diabetes Neuropathy a Success

Posted: Friday, June 09, 2006

Injecting patients with a DNA-binding protein may prevent diabetes-related nerve damage - known as diabetic neuropathy - particularly to the hands and feet.

 
A potentially groundbreaking treatment for diabetes-related nerve damage has shown promising results in early trials.
 
A research team at the University of Manchester has discovered that injecting patients with a DNA-binding protein may prevent diabetes-related nerve damage - known as diabetic neuropathy - particularly to the hands and feet.

These results were based on pre-clinical trials, however the results of early clinical trials on patients in the US have also been encouraging.

 
According to lead researcher, Prof David Tomlinson, the study has 'massive potential' for managing the condition and preventing thousands of foot amputations every year.
 
"The vast majority of non-traumatic hand and foot amputations carried out in UK hospitals are caused by diabetes and there are currently no treatments available to prevent or slow the progress of nerve disease in diabetic patients", Prof Tomlinson said.
 
However the research team's tests have shown that a single injection of a DNA-binding protein protected nerve function, stimulated nerve growth and prevented tissue damage, which can lead to loss of limbs in humans.

Diabetic neuropathy is a major problem in insulin dependent diabetes, particularly in patients who have had the disease for a long time. As many as 50% of patients with long-term diabetes develop some type of neuropathy that can cause numbness and sometimes pain and weakness in the hands, arms, feet and legs. While the need for amputation is not inevitable, it is always a threat, the researchers said.

Furthermore, problems may also occur in other organs, including the heart, kidneys and eyes.

"Our approach to gene therapy is quite different to previous attempts at treatment. We use a DNA-binding protein called ZFP TFTM to poke life into the patient's own genes and produce a growth factor that has a role in nerve protection and regeneration. As the data demonstrates, we have had some striking success", Prof Tomlinson added.

The US clinical trials meanwhile have also been encouraging - the only adverse event reported so far has been a mild reaction at the site of injection.

 

 

Source: Diabetes In Control: Diabetes May 2006

 
 
 
 
 
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