Monday, November 17, 2008

Research News Flash: Gleevec and Sutent

Thanks to Peter Nerothin and Kerri Morrone Sparling for the tip-off. An article published in the December 2, 2008 PNAS journal (with early release today) showed that 2 leukemia drugs--imatinib (Gleevec) and sunitinib (Sutent)--had potent effects in preventing and reversing new-onset diabetes in NOD mice. Of course it hasn't been shown to work in people yet, but this does seem like a very exciting development, in particular because Gleevec and Sutent are already FDA-approved drugs. Another exciting finding was that one course of treatment (albeit a 10-week course) had long-lasting effects, suggesting that the drugs had a modulatory effect on the immune system--not just a more temporary, suppressive one.

I went to an informative talk today on the cell/molecular biology of diabetes and routes to a cure, given by Jeff Bluestone and Steve Gitelman of UCSF. I missed the first part of it so perhaps they discussed it then, but it seems like perhaps they didn't want to spill the beans. Dr. Bluestone was quoted in related news stories and is one of the main authors.

I am optimistic about the state of research, but will make sure to keep stocked up on insulin and test strips for the foreseeable future.

13 comments:

Shane and Becca said...

c'mon, c'mon, c'mon! I hope this leads to something quick!

Nicolas Gagnon said...

If this treatment does end up being available for humans, I highly doubt it would be usable on patients who have been diabetic for a long time, like me (23 years now). If you read the article in PNAS, you'll see that they did the tests on prediabetic and new onset diabetic mice. In other words, the only way it might work for us who have had T1D for a long time would be to use a tyrosine kinase inhibitor such as Sutent or Gleevec and get a transplant of stem cell-derived beta cells. So... for now, I'm not too excited about this... unfortunately!

Anne said...

I agree that the effectiveness for long-term diabetics is questionable... Still, there have been some recent findings (people w/type 1 who still have some beta cells after 50+ years, the fact that beta cell mass increases during pregnancy, and the discovery of pancreatic stem cells earlier this year), that make me quite hopeful. Immune tolerance will be key to making any sort of cell/islet transplant "stick" in the long run so I am grateful that they seem to be onto a mechanism that works with FDA-approved drugs.

Anonymous said...

Interesting news however, as long as diseases such as Diabetes etc exist to bring in big money for the various drug companies we will never see a cure. It's a corrupt business and as long as diabetics can live a halfway decent life that's all the money makers care about. It's big money business and Diabetics as well as other disease sufferers pay the price for it. Scientists can clone a human yet they can't figure out a cure for some of these diseases?? Don't fool yourselves because the government & drug companies won't allow a cure to become public. Just food for thought. thanks. 27 year type 1 diabetic.

Steve Ahn said...

Whew! Thats some heady stuff. I don't want to jump in the ring with you tigers - I'm just here to say "hi" to coach Anne! Hope you are well.

Marty said...

I get so sick of my peers NAY saying about new developments.
Diabetes does not kill all of your Beta cells. The inflammation causes apoptosis (early cell death). This does not mean they are all gone (like the comment above....50 years). Don't give up. In Malaysia doctors have figured out a way to mass produce Beta cells without using stem cells.

Attitude is Everything!!!

Marty said...

And......there ARE two documented cases (1 in Italy, 1 in Portugal)of humans who had their T1 diabetes reversed. One was being treated for Leukemia and the other Crohn's disease. In both cases, both conditions were reversed. Please do some more reading. Don't give up!

Anonymous said...

can't we just go to Mexico and give Gleevec a try for 10 weeks... Is there any harm to doing this?

Sergiu said...
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Sergiu said...
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S. said...
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S. said...

This post is intended for mr. Marty.
Hello,
Kind Sir,
Please post the link towards the very interesting finds regarding remission of type 1 diabetes(in Portugal and Italy) that you mentioned in your post on 10/12/08 11:08 AM, because i am very interested and could not find them by googleing it.

Hope you are willing to help me.
Best regards to you all.

Anonymous said...

1) Gleevec - BRIC Report BioClipping Caner Drug for Diabetes ScienceNow 2005-03-15, November 2004 Journal of Clinical Oncology, NEJM, Enzo Bonora
http://bric.postech.ac.kr/myboard/read.php?Board=news&id=97235

2) Substance P - 2006 Dec.15 Cell; Hans Michael Dosch, MD, PhD, Michael Salter, MD, PhD, Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

"We are now working hard to extend our studies to [type 1 diabetes] patients, where many have sensory nerve abnormalities," Dosch says in a news release. "But we don't yet know if these abnormalities start early in life and if they contribute to disease development."

3) INGAP Peptide http://www.exsulin.com/ Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota is currently enrolling patients in the first and only Phase II clinical trial targeted at regeneration of insulin-producing islets in patients with established Type 1 Diabetes. McGill University Hospital Centre, Montreal Canada will be enrolling patients in Q1 2010.