Diabetes is a common disease that occurs when high levels of blood sugar start to silently damage bodily tissue and organs. Approximately 34.2 million individuals in the United States are living with diabetes, and another 88 million are living with prediabetes which greatly increases the risk of developing diabetes. The disease often leads to debilitating tissue and organ damage. This typically manifests as broken bones that take a long time to heal, diabetes-induced blindness, kidney failure, and damage to other major organs such as the heart and bladder. While there is currently no cure for diabetes, researchers at New York University have recently developed a novel drug that they believe can help combat the tissue damage that accompanies the disease.
The researchers published their findings last week in the journal Science Translational Medicine. The research was based on past findings that a protein called RAGE (receptor for advanced glycation end products) can promote inflammation in numerous tissues throughout the body in individuals with diabetes. As such, the researchers designed a novel small-molecule drug that interact with RAGE to prevent inflammation.
The researchers tested the drug, called RAGE229, in a mouse model of diabetes. The researchers used a test that triggered inflammation, wounds, and heart problems in mice. After inducing the diabetic-like complications in the mice, the researchers administered the drug. They found that in all three measures, RAGE229 was successful in significantly decreasing inflammation, improving wound healing time, and improving heart function in the diabetic-like mice.
Lead researcher Ann Marie Schmidt, MD said in a statement, “Our results establish a molecular backbone of RAGE229 as the foundation for a new approach that targets intracellular RAGE actions to counter diabetic tissue damage.” The research team hopes that these findings will lead to the discovery of new drugs that will be capable of treating diabetic-induced tissue damage in humans.