Newswise — JUPITER, FL, April 16, 2014 – Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have been awarded $2.1 million from the National Institutes of Health to study the therapeutic potential of safer and more effective alternatives to the current crop of anti-diabetic drugs, which have been limited in their use due to side effects including bone loss and congestive heart failure.
Douglas Kojetin, a TSRI associate professor, is the principal investigator for the new five-year study.
The study will take a cue from the two mainstays of type 2 diabetes treatment—pioglitazone (Actos) and rosiglitazone (Avandia). Both drugs raise the body’s sensitivity to insulin, increasing the amount of glucose or sugar absorbed by the cells.
Studies have shown, however, that while these and other recently developed drugs are designed to bind to a specific site on the PPAR gamma (PPARG) nuclear receptor, they can also bind to an alternative site.
“This unexpected finding opens a lot of potential opportunities,” Kojetin said. “We’re looking to design a molecule that blocks both sites and can be used to probe what this alternative binding does on a molecular level—with the hope that this information will help us come up with a better drug model.”
The number of the new National Institutes of Health grant is 1R01DK101871.
About The Scripps Research Institute
The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) is one of the world's largest independent, not-for-profit organizations focusing on research in the biomedical sciences. TSRI is internationally recognized for its contributions to science and health, including its role in laying the foundation for new treatments for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, hemophilia, and other diseases. An institution that evolved from the Scripps Metabolic Clinic founded by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps in 1924, the institute now employs about 3,000 people on its campuses in La Jolla, CA, and Jupiter, FL, where its renowned scientists—including three Nobel laureates—work toward their next discoveries. The institute's graduate program, which awards PhD degrees in biology and chemistry, ranks among the top ten of its kind in the nation. For more information, see www.scripps.edu.