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Diabetic Nerve Health – Success with a Trial for treatment of Neuropathy associated with Diabetes

May 31st, 2006

Diabetic Nerve Health – Success with a Trial for treatment of Neuropathy associated with Diabetes

Professor David Tomlinson

Testing for a potentially new treatment for nerve damage caused by diabetes has shown some success with preclinical and early patient trials in the United States.

Researchers from The University of Manchester,UK discovered a way to inject a therapy into diabetic patients which help to stimulate genes.  By doing this therapy it may be possible to prevent nerve damage in the hands and feet of diabetic patients.

This treatment could help prevent foot amputations of thousands of diabetics each year. The World Health Organization has estimated there would be 300 million people worldwide that could have diabetes by 2025.  Diabetes is being diagnosed in young to middle age adults and would put them at a higher risk for amputations because of the long-term complications of this disorder.


"The vast majority of non-traumatic hand and foot amputations carried out in UK hospitals are caused by diabetes and there are currently no treatments available to prevent or slow the progress of nerve disease in diabetic patients," said the lead researcher, Professor David Tomlinson who is based in the University's Faculty of Life Sciences. "Our tests have shown that a single injection of a DNA-binding protein protected nerve function, stimulated nerve growth and prevented tissue damage that in humans can lead to limb loss."

Neuropathy affects an estimated 50 percent of long-term diabetic patients.  Symptoms of neuropathy are usually described as numbness in the hands, arms, feet and legs.  Sometimes there is pain involved.  Not every case of neuropathy develops to the point of amputation, but there is a definite potential risk.  Other organs can be affected as well including the heart, kidneys, sex organs, eyes, and digestive tract.


"Diabetic neuropathy is a major problem in insulin-dependent diabetes, particularly in patients who have had the disease for a period of time," said Professor Tomlinson.  "Our approach to gene therapy is quite different to previous attempts at treatment: we use a DNA-binding protein called ZFP TFTM to poke life into the patient's own genes and produce a growth factor that has a role in nerve protection and regeneration.”

Tomlinson report that they have had “some striking success.”

Sangamo BioSciences Inc. along with Tomlinson has carried out the US clinical trials and reports that there were 12 diabetic patients tested.  Only 4 out of the 12 had a mild injection site reaction that resolved quickly after the injection.


"We are delighted by the progress of our clinical program in diabetic neuropathy and by the reception it has received from the medical and scientific community," said Edward Lanphier, Sangamo's President and CEO.  "We believe our DNA-binding protein may provide a novel and much-needed therapeutic approach to diabetic neuropathy and optimistically look forward to the next stage of development of this novel therapeutic when phase-two clinical trials start later this year."

According to another report, amputations are far too common.  This press release from Ken Hunter stated the following:  "Amputations are not only disfiguring and life-threatening, but are more dangerous and more expensive than revascularization, which is the reestablishment of blood supply. Diabetics are especially at risk for non-traumatic amputations, accounting for 82,000 non-traumatic lower extremity amputations (LEAs) in the U.S. yearly, according to the American Diabetes Association. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports more than 60 percent of LEAs occur in diabetics."

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Nicole Wilson
Best Syndication

Books on Diabetes

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                   Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:47 PM