Jan. 4, 2007 -- Chinese researchers may have found the key to an oral drug that could treat both type 2and .
They are focusing on a compound called Boc5 by Ming-Wei Wang, MD, PhD, and colleagues at the National Center for Drug Screening and the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai, China.
These drugs mimic an intestinal peptide, glucagon-like peptide, or GLP-1.
The problem is that they are large molecules. This means they can't be used as oral drugs, but have to be given by injection.
That's what makes Boc5 different. It's a small molecule and therefore promises to sire a new family of more powerful oral drugs for diabetes.
New Diabetes, Weight Loss Drug?
To find Boc5, Wang and colleagues screened 48,160 compounds for GLP-1-like activity. They found two.
Eventually, these compounds led them to the molecule now called Boc5.
The scientists tested the Boc5 drugs in a strain of mice bred with a defect that makes them overeat. This overeating, coupled with insulin production, makes the mice diabetic.and defective
"Although the observed effects point to a potential anti-diabetic, anti-obesity utility, a practical drug will likely require greater potency," Wang and colleagues conclude.
But, they add, "The findings reported here ... have the potential to spawn a new class of orally available [drugs] for treatment of metabolic diseases."
Wang and colleagues report their findings in the Jan. 5 early online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.