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[IP] Shot-Free Insulin Treatments Tested!!!!

how's that for a headline...

Just FYI - got this today...

.c The Associated Press


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Researchers who tested more than 50,000 natural and 
synthetic substances say they have found a fungus compound that acts like 
insulin, raising the possibility that diabetics in the future may take pills 
instead of shots.

Scientists at Merck Research Laboratories isolated the insulin-like compound 
from a fungus found in the jungles of Congo in West Africa. When it was 
tested on mice that have diabetes, the researchers found that it 
significantly lowered the sugar in the animals' blood. The researchers said 
the compound is a mimic of insulin, the natural hormone that allows the body 
to metabolize sugar.

``This could potentially be used to replace insulin shots in diabetics,'' 
said Dr. Bei Zhang of Merck, the lead author of a study to be published 
Friday in the journal Science. She cautioned, however, that ``it is still 
very early,'' and that years of research remain before the compound could be 
tested in humans.

The compound, called L-783,281, was found by a team that laboriously tested 
50,000 substances collected from around the world, checking each one for its 
ability to mimic the action of insulin.

L-783,281 was found to be promising in test tube studies, so the researchers 
carried it to the next step -- testing on animals.

Two strains of mice that naturally develop diabetes were treated with the 
compound and tests showed that L-783,281 helped the mouse cells to take 
glucose, or sugar, from the blood stream.

Zhang said the compound works in much the same way as insulin. L-783,281 
links up with a specific molecule on the surface of each cell. This activates 
an enzyme that sets off a series of biological steps, enabling the cells to 
absorb and use sugar.

Diabetes is caused when the body is unable to make insulin, or becomes unable 
to use insulin properly.

People with Type I diabetes, the most serious form of the disease, may 
require up to four insulin shots a day to maintain the proper glucose level. 
Type I diabetes most commonly is diagnosed among children and young people.

In type II diabetes, which affects about 10 percent [TEN PERCENT!!!!!  THIS 
IS SO WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!] of Americans over the age of 40, patients are able 
to make insulin, but cells in the body become insensitive to the hormone. 
Type II diabetes usually is controlled by diet, weight loss and taking pills 
that improve the body's utilization of insulin. Some drugs recently approved 
by the Food and Drug Administration are for the treatment of Type II diabetes.

All diabetic patients must frequently check glucose levels in their blood in 
order to properly control their disease.  [WELL THANK YOU FOR THAT ANY WAY!!!]

Zhang said that, unlike insulin, L-783,281 can be taken as pills. The 
compound can be absorbed by the digestive system and still act on the cells 
of the body. Insulin is destroyed by digestion and, for this reason, must be 
given by injection, a regimen that is often difficult for patients to accept.

Dr. Robert Goldstein, vice president of research at the Juvenile Diabetes 
Foundation, said the discovery of L-783,281 ``is a real advance'' in diabetes 

``It offers the promise of an alternative approach in which patients would 
not have to have insulin shots,'' he said. But Goldstein cautioned that a 
great deal more study is needed before L-783,281 could be safely tested on 

``This still needs a lot of work,'' he said.

so why doesnt Merck join in the cure crusade...CUZ they is BIG BUCKS to be 
made in NOT finding one!!!
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