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Diabetes Research

We are very passionate about our research, the information below details the projects we are currently researching.

Insulin secretion and gene therapy

Bioengineering and proteomics of candidate insulin-secreting surrogate cells suitable for unraveling the mechanisms of pancreatic beta cell function and dysfunction and paving the way for the future gene therapy of diabetes.

A major objective in this area is the bioengineering and proteomics of rodent and human glucose-sensitive insulin-secreting cell lines. Such cells are valuable models for unraveling the mechanisms of pancreatic beta cell function and dysfunction, discovery of novel islet peptides and drug evaluation.

This pioneering approach may also provide a much-needed source of transplantable insulin-producing cells for the gene therapy of diabetes.

Antidiabetic actions of structurally modified peptides

Investigating the impact of structural modification of biologically active brain-gut peptides on the regulation of feeding, pancreatic beta cell function and anti-hyperglycaemic activity.

The focus of this research is to evaluate the impact of structural modification of biologically active brain-gut peptides on satiety, insulin-releasing activity and antihyperglycaemic potential.

This work has culminated in the synthesis of a number of novel biologically potent enzyme-resistant peptide analogues for potential obesity-diabetes therapy.

Discovery, targets and action of antidiabetic drugs

Characterization of novel antidiabetic agents, isolation of new compounds from natural sources, elucidation of their sites and modes of action and potential therapeutic role in correcting insulin secretion and action in diabetes.

This research is directed towards discovery, isolation and characterization novel antidiabetic agents from natural sources, including plants and amphibian venoms. Work extends to elucidation of the sites and modes of action of novel chemical entities.

A major part of this research also evaluates actions of both established and new generations of antidiabetic drugs including HSD-1 and SGLT-2 inhibitors. These studies are continuing to reveal important novel beta-cell drug targets.

Mechanisms of pancreatic beta-cell dysfunction and insulin glycation

Involvement of glucose, lipid and drug toxicity and glycation of insulin and other pancreatic beta cell proteins in insulin secretory dysfunction, insulin resistance and pathogenesis of diabetes.

The major thrust in this area concerns the role of glucose, lipid, drug toxicity and glycation of pancreatic beta-cell proteins in the development of insulin secretory dysfunction, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

One highlight is the discovery that pancreatic beta-cells secrete glycated insulin, which through impaired biological activity contributes to insulin resistance. Clinical studies are underway using a novel and specific assay for glycated insulin developed in our laboratory.