New research led by the University of Bristol has unveiled a promising inhibitor drug that could potentially prevent microvascular diabetic complications, including diabetic eye and kidney disease.
The study, published in Cardiovascular Diabetology, brings hope for individuals grappling with the life-altering complications of diabetes.
With an estimated one in 11 adults worldwide affected by diabetes, the disease's impact on blood glucose levels can lead to severe complications, particularly affecting the microvasculature—the small blood vessels of the body.
Despite available treatments for complications like diabetic eye and kidney disease, these interventions often fail to fully halt disease progression, potentially leading to blindness and kidney failure.
The research focused on the glycocalyx, the protective lining of all blood vessels, known to be damaged in diabetes.
Using two mouse models, the researchers demonstrated that preventing damage to this protective layer could halt the development of diabetic eye and kidney disease. The key to this breakthrough lies in a 'heparanase inhibitor,' a class of drugs developed to counteract the damaging effects of heparanase, which acts like scissors, harming the glycocalyx lining.
Dr. Rebecca Foster, Associate Professor of Microvascular Medicine in the Bristol Medical School: Translational Health Sciences (THS) and senior author of the study, expressed excitement about the findings. She stated, "Our findings are exciting as we have shown that one type of medication might be able to prevent different diabetic complications, which is a global health problem for adults living with diabetes."
The development of this novel class of drugs offers a potential medication to treat diabetic complications, marking a significant stride in addressing the global health challenges associated with diabetes. As the research paves the way for further clinical developments, the prospect of a preventive solution for diabetic eye and kidney disease provides newfound hope for individuals managing this prevalent and impactful condition.