Tags: diabetes | biomarker | prevent

New Method Found to ID, Prevent Diabetes

Wednesday, 26 December 2012 10:03 AM

Most diabetics are diagnosed with the condition years after it has already started to damage blood vessels, eyes, and other organs. But scientists have found a new way to identify people who are likely to develop type 2 diabetes years earlier than is now possible, by tracking a blood protein that signals the condition.
The protein, called SFRP4, could give doctors a new way to flag people at risk of diabetes to begin early treatment and possibly even help prevent the condition from developing altogether.
"We have shown that individuals who have above-average levels of a protein called SFRP4 in the blood are five times more likely to develop diabetes in the next few years than those with below-average levels," said Anders Rosengren, a researcher at the Lund University Diabetes Centre who led the research on the biomarker, published in the journal Cell Metabolism.
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Lund researchers said their work has shown SFRP4 plays a role in inflammatory processes in the body and the risk of type 2 diabetes. The scientists compared insulin-producing beta cells from diabetic individuals and non-diabetic individuals and found that cells from diabetics have significantly higher levels of the protein.
"The theory has been that low-grade chronic inflammation weakens the beta cells so that they are no longer able to secrete sufficient insulin. There are no doubt multiple reasons for the weakness, but the SFRP4 protein is one of them," said co-researcher Taman Mahdi.
The protein works independently of other risk factors for type 2 diabetes, such as obesity, Rosengren said.
"If we can point to an increased risk of diabetes in a middle-aged individual of normal weight using a simple blood test, up to 10 years before the disease develops, this could provide strong motivation to them to improve their lifestyle to reduce the risk", said Rosengren. "In the long term, our findings could also lead to new methods of treating type 2 diabetes by developing ways of blocking the protein SFRP4 in the insulin-producing beta cells and reducing inflammation, thereby protecting the cells."

© HealthDay

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Medical specialists have found a way to identify people likely to develop diabetes years earlier than is now possible.
Wednesday, 26 December 2012 10:03 AM
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