Treatment

Scientists hope enzyme study could lead to new treatment for diabetic kidney problems

by Barbara Hewitt on March 22, 2017

An enzyme that has a role in the body’s metabolic memory could lead to the development of new treatments for diabetes-related kidney failure.

Scientists from Australia are currently studying metabolic memory, a phenomenon where episodes of hyperglycaemia continue to increase a person’s risk of diabetes-related complications long after blood glucose levels have returned to target range.

The researchers from Monash University in Melbourne have been concentrating on the role of the Set7 enzyme and its impact on metabolic memory with the aim of developing new treatments for kidney problems in people with diabetes.

Kidney failure is one of the most debilitating complications of diabetes and is three times more likely in people with diabetes than those who do not have the condition.

Mark Cooper, professor of diabetes at Monash University, explained that enzymes are protein molecules that act as catalysts in the body. ‘We believe the Set7 enzyme may play a role in metabolic memory so we will be removing that enzyme from mice and studying how they react,’ he explained.

‘Addressing metabolic memory is important because episodes of hyperglycaemia are part and parcel of everyone’s life with diabetes and if we can address metabolic memory we can lower the risk of long-term complications,’ he said.

‘That will help us understand if Set7 does have a role in metabolic memory and, if it does, how we can treat this. If we are successful, it could be a step towards developing a drug that turns off the Set7 enzyme and mitigates the long term effects of metabolic memory,’ he added.

According to Diabetes Australia chief executive officer Greg Johnson funding and supporting research was a critical part of responding to the diabetes epidemic. ‘Diabetes is the single biggest challenge confronting Australia’s health system and research into how we can prevent and manage the condition is critical to meeting the challenges we face,’ he said.

‘We hope Professor Mark Cooper’s research into metabolic memory will help contribute to ways of reducing the burden of diabetes-related kidney disease,’ he added.

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The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the DiabetesForum.com Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.