Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body becomes resistant to the normal effects of insulin and gradually becomes unable to produce enough insulin in the pancreas.
The ailment represents 85–90 percent of all diabetes cases.
However, a new treatment is being developed in Australia’s very own backyard.
AusHealth is supporting proof of concept studies to demonstrate the role of agents present in the venom of echidnas and platypuses to more effectively treat Type 2 diabetes. The studies arise from collaborative research program between the University of Adelaide, Flinders University, Monash University, the Royal Adelaide Hospital, and SAHMRI – in order to find a more effective medicine for Type 2 diabetes patients.
One of the world’s most important blood glucose lowering agent for treating diabetes is Exenatide®, a glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) analogue derived from the saliva of the Gila Monster – a reptile found in Japan.
Closer to home, a related GLP-1 hormone, present in the venom of echidnas and platypuses, is postulated to have a similar effect and the research supported by AusHealth involves modifying the hormone to produce more effective treatments for Type 2 diabetes with reduced side effects.
This project is currently in the pre-clinical stages of development, with funding and support from AusHealth.