Web Desk: New research shows that gene therapy can completely reverse markers of type 2 diabetes and obesity in rodents.
Small alterations to our genes could soon reverse metabolic disorders such as obesity and type 2 diabetes in humans.
The prevalence of diabetes, or the total number of existing cases, is on the rise in the United States and globally.
According to recent estimates, over 30 millionU.S. adults had diabetes in 2015.
Although the number has been relatively steady in the past few years, rates of newly diagnosed cases among children and teenagers haveincreased sharply.
And, worldwide, the situation is even more alarming; the number of people with diabetes almost quadrupled between 1980 and 2014, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Prof. Bosch and her colleagues achieved this using gene therapy, a technique that introduces new genetic material into cells to create beneficial proteins or to offset the effects of malfunctioning genes.
Prof. Bosch and team designed two mouse models of obesity and type 2 diabetes. One was diet-induced, and the other one was genetically modified.
Using an adeno-associated viral vector as “transport,” the team delivered the fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) gene.
This gene is responsible for encoding the FGF21 protein, which is seen as a “major metabolic regulator” that stimulates the absorption of blood sugar in adipose tissue.