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[IP] Scientists discover diabetes gene hope

Scientists discover diabetes gene hope

Tuesday 10 October 2000

Scientists at Geelong's Deakin University laboratories have discovered a gene 
they hope may lead to new treatments for diabetes.

The gene, which they have named Tanis, is involved in the body's response to 
fasting and the regulation of glucose.

The scientists believe it may be used in the development of a drug treatment 
for non-insulin dependent diabetes.

The research that led to the discovery has been funded by Joseph Gutnick's 
biotechnology company, Autogen Ltd.

The director of research and development at Autogen, Greg Collier, said 
researchers working with Israeli sand rats discovered that the Tanis gene was 
responsible for coding receptors that appear on the outside of cells found 
mostly in the liver and fat tissue.

They found that while the number of receptors on the outside of the cell 
increased when a non-diabetic animal fasted overnight, the number of receptors 
went up tenfold when a diabetic animal fasted overnight. "They're huge 
increases and this clearly shows that this receptor is being badly regulated 
in the diabetic, which provides a very new target," Professor Collier said.

"We looked at that receptor in culture and it shows it responds to insulin and 
to glucose ... so it's a key new target involved in basic metabolism that's 
gone wrong in diabetes."

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