A modified form of the drug niclosamide , used to eradicate intestinal parasites, could help stop type 2 diabetes at its source, a team of researchers say.
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition in which the body does not produce enough insulin to control blood sugar levels. This can lead to serious health consequences including heart disease, kidney disease, some types of cancer, blindness, amputations due to neuropathy, and Alzheimer’s disease.
A major cause of insulin resistance is from the accumulation of excess fat in the cells of the liver and muscle tissue. The study involved finding a safe and practical way of reducing fat content in the liver which, in turn, would help the body be less resistant to insulin.
In studies involving laboratory rats, researchers with Rutgers University treated the rats with niclosamide, which resulted in a reduction of fat. “That, in turn, improved the animals’ ability to use insulin correctly and reduce blood sugar,” said researcher Victor Shengkan Jin. The medication triggered the burning of excess fat in liver cells through a process called mitochondrial uncoupling.
The study holds promise as a way to cure people of type 2 diabetes.
Current medications only treat the condition and those often carry serious risks. For example, the type 2 diabetes drug Actos was linked to an increased risk of bladder cancer, and the newer diabetes drugs Januvia and Byetta have been linked to acute pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.