COPD Drug Could Unlock Benefits For Those With Type 2 Diabetes

Dec 29, 2015

A $2.2 million grant has been awarded to AHN to test how a drug for those with chronic lung inflammation can help people with Type 2 diabetes.
Credit Victor / Flickr

Allegheny Health Network researchers are trying to find out how a drug created for people with a breathing disease can help those with Type 2 diabetes.

“Type 2 diabetes is a consequence of taking in too much energy and not distributing enough,” said Nick Gianoukakis, associate professor for biological sciences and immunology at AHN. “As we eat, we store energy. That becomes fat, and fat is a condition that results in the body’s immune system being sensitized and becoming active. So we create a state of inflammation inside our bodies.”

That inflammation can inhibit certain functions in the body; in this case, researchers are looking at how it impedes the body’s ability to produce and regulate insulin. Giannoukakis said the inflammation-reducing drug could be key, when paired with other diabetes treatments.

“For example, Metformin is a widely prescribed drug for Type 2 diabetes,” said Giannoukakis. “If the inflammation acts against the actions of the Metformin, well, Metformin doesn’t work as well and it may even fail.”

Researchers will to work with 42 patients over two years to test how a drug created by pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to help chronic obstructive pulmonary disease impacts inflammation and insulin production. 

The study is funded through a $2.2 million grant from the National Health Institute and conducted by the AHN’s Institute of Cellular Therapeutics.

Anthony Priore contributed to this report.