Clinical Trial To Test High Blood Pressure Drug’s Ability To Reverse Diabetes

shutterstock_135109976Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham have discovered that a common blood pressure drug can completely reverse diabetes in animal models. And now a clinical trial is underway in 2015 to find out whether the effects may be the same in human diabetes. The groundbreaking clinical trial is set to begin early next year, thanks to a 3-year $2.1 million grant from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation or JDRF.

UAB scientists have uncovered that the blood pressure drug called verapamil, used to treat high blood pressure, migraine headaches and irregular heartbeat can also lower a protein called TXNIP in beta cells, specialized cells found in the pancreas. The scientists have proved over the years that high blood sugar causes the body to produce too much TXNIP in beta cells that leads to the cells’ death and disrupts the body’s ability to produce insulin, leading to the progression of diabetes. When the researchers treated mice models with established diabetes, the disease was eradicated.

According to Anath Shalev, M.D., director of UAB’s Comprehensive Diabetes Center and principal investigator of the upcoming clinical trial, “We have previously shown that verapamil can prevent diabetes and even reverse the disease in mouse models and reduce TXNIP in human islet beta cells, suggesting that it may have beneficial effects in humans as well. That is a proof-of-concept that, by lowering TXNIP, even in the context of the worst diabetes, we have beneficial effects. And all of this addresses the main underlying cause of the disease — beta cell loss. Our current approach attempts to target this loss by promoting the patient’s own beta cell mass and insulin production. There is currently no treatment available that targets diabetes in this way.”

The said clinical trial will enroll 52 people with ages ranging from 19 to 45 years old who are within three months of receiving a type 1 diabetes diagnosis. The participants will be randomized to receive verapamil or a placebo for a period of one year, all the while continuing their insulin pump therapy. The participants will also receive continuous glucose level monitoring system that will allow them to measure their blood sugar levels, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Source: University of Alabama at Birmingham. (2014, November 6). Groundbreaking clinical trial to test blood pressure drug that reverses diabetes in animal models. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 12, 2014 from



Tags: , , ,