Thursday, December 15, 2005

New Diabetes Drugs on the Horizon: Incretin Enhancers

How They Work

After we eat, cells in our intestines release a variety of hormones. One is called GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1). GLP-1, among others, increases insulin secretion which makes it part of a group of insulin-secreting, or incretin, hormones. The increased insulin works to lower blood glucose levels after a meal.

Our bodies also secrete another compound, an enzyme called DPP-IV (dipeptidyl peptidase-IV) which inactivates GLP-1, and possibly other incretin hormones.

The drugs under study are designed to inhibit DPP-IV, protecting GLP-1 from degradation.

Another plus - Since the amount of GLP-1 released from our cells is dependent on the amount of glucose made available from a meal, its presence doesn't lead to low blood glucose or weight gain - problems that dog a present class of diabetes drugs, the sulfonylureas.

Drugs Of This Type In Clinical Trials (Or Marketed)
A Few Good Overviews

Dipeptidyl peptidase inhibitors as new drugs for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

New Insights Into the Role of Incretins in the Treatment of Diabetes.