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Protein Injection Reverses Signs of Type 2 Diabetes Temporarily

Update Date: Jul 18, 2014 10:17 AM EDT

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic illness that can be highly manageable through diet, exercise and medications. However, several studies have tied type 2 diabetics to many other health conditions. In a new study, researchers used animal models to test the effects of a protein known as FGF1 on the symptoms of diabetes. The team discovered that just one injection of the protein could reverse type 2 diabetes temporarily.

"Controlling glucose is a dominant problem in our society," said Ronald M. Evans, director of Salk's Gene Expression Laboratory and corresponding author of the paper, according to FOX News. "And FGF1 offers a new method to control glucose in a powerful and unexpected way."

For this study, the researchers decided to focus on FGF1 after they discovered that the protein was capable of helping the body react to insulin. The researchers gave mice type 2 diabetes by feeding mice that did not have the FGF1 gene a high-fat diet. They then injected the diabetic mice with varying doses of FGF1. The researchers were shocked to find that one dose helped restored the mice's blood sugar levels back to normal.

"Many previous studies that injected FGF1 showed no effect on healthy mice," said Michael Downes, a senior staff scientist and co-corresponding author of the study. "However, when we injected it into a diabetic mouse, we saw a dramatic improvement in glucose."

The researchers noted that even though the effects were only temporary, the FGF1 protein could be the key in making future diabetes treatments. The protein does not come with dangerous side effects, such as cardiovascular problems, weight gain or hypoglycemia and it helped mice regain control over regulating their own insulin.

The study was published in the journal, Nature.

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