Asthma drug promotes ‘promising’ type 2 diabetes results
Blood sugar levels were reduced in people with type 2 diabetes who took an anti-asthma drug, US researchers have said.
Amlexanox is an anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic drug, which is commonly used to treat asthma and was developed in Japan in the 1980s.
It was previously tested on obese mice and the results showed the animals lost weight while their insulin sensitivity increased, so researchers wanted to see how it fared in people.
The University of California San Diego School of Medicine trial involved 42 people, half of whom were given amlexanox while the other half received a placebo.
Blood sugar levels, weight, silver fat and insulin sensitivity were all measured at the beginning and end of the study.
Lead author Dr lan Saltiel said: “When we looked at the drug-treated group we saw a bimodal distribution, that is, there were some responders and some non-responders.
“We didn’t understand why, so we did a molecular analysis from biopsies of fat cells we took from patients at the beginning and end of the study.
“In the responder group, the level of inflammation in fat was higher than in the non-responder group at the beginning of the study, indicating that there is something about inflammation that predisposes a person to respond. And, what was really amazing was that there were more than 1,100 gene changes that occurred exclusively in the responders.”
Dr Saltiel said his team have been hugely encouraged by the research as the findings have indicated a drug that has not been studied before.
He added: “It’s a new mechanism for a diabetes and fatty liver drug. It’s promising, but there are a lot of questions that need to be answered still.”
The researchers are now planning a new study to assess whether patients are likely to respond to amlexanox based on their underlying inflammation.
The findings of the research have been published in the journal Cell Metabolism.