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UAB cures diabetes in lab mice, preparing for human trial

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – A new study at the UAB Comprehensive Diabetes Center may prove beneficial for thousands of Alabamians. Researchers have cured diabetes in lab mice using a commonly prescribed blood pressure medication, Verapamil. “We found that we could reverse the disease completely,” said Dr. Anath Shalev, director of the UAB Comprehensive Diabetes Center.

Several studies in the past have cured diabetes in the early phases, but failed during the human clinical trials. “None of the therapies are actually addressing the underlying cause, namely the destruction and loss of insulin-producing Beta cells,” said Dr. Shalev. That’s where Verapamil differs. In the lab mice, Dr. Shalev said those treated with the drug not only showed reversal of the disease, but also showcased increased levels of Beta cells. “So, it’s really curing the underlying cause,” said Dr. Shalev. 

Beta cells are killed when higher levels of blood sugar manifest an increased presence of the protein, TXNIP. TXNIP, which is naturally in the body and not harmful at normal levels, slows the insulin production until it ultimately kills the Beta cells. Verapamil lowered the TXNIP levels to the point where Beta cells could potentially have started rejuvenating; however, Dr. Shalev said it’s not clear yet whether more Beta cells were being produced, or rather the environment was improved for them to become more clear in readings. 

While other tests have struggled with the transition from animal models to human models, Dr. Shalev said this one could be different because of its target. “TXNIP is extremely well-conserved across species, almost identical in rat, mice, and human,” she said. Most of the other tests focused on the auto-immune system, which is drastically different between humans and mice, according to Dr. Shalev. The human clinical test, which is being labeled, “the repurposing of Verapamil as a beta cell survival therapy in type 1 diabetes,” will begin in early 2015. It will be a double-blind study, with 52 participants. Half will be given placebo and half will be given Verapamil. They will take one tablet orally once daily. The study will last a year. It is being funded by a $2.1 million grant from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Link to article: bit.ly/1Aqaq0v

4 Replies


Or just change your diet!


It seemed so intuitive at the time a no brainer and was going to be the holy grail of weight loss, but fell to earth with a resounding thump when it just didn't work.

It just illustrates that monkeying around with an exquisite feedback system with sledgehammer medicines is a very bad idea.


Have a look at the latest from Colpo if you want egregious examples of fudged and compromised research. The results to the poor bewildered so and so's in the firing line makes me glad of an internet connection:


1 like

Interesting news even though this is dated before 2015. So what has become of the human clinical trials since they were slated for early 2015? Could you continue to keep us abreast of this line of diabetes research.  Thanks for the effort to post the news. One area of concern is the negative side effects of Verapamil - of course drawbacks also apply to any pharma drug, not just Vpl.  I googled up for side effects and the following is a list I got from:


Severity: Major

Less common

    Blue lips and fingernails

    blurred vision

    burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings

    chest pain


    coughing that sometimes produces a pink frothy sputum

    difficult, fast, noisy breathing, sometimes with wheezing

    dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up from a lying or sitting   position suddenly

    increased sweating

    lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting

    pale skin

    shortness of breath

    slow or irregular heartbeat

    sore throat


    swelling in legs and ankles

    unusual tiredness or weakness



    cold sweats

    feeling of warmth

    redness of the face, neck, arms and occasionally, upper chest

Severity: Minor

    Difficulty having a bowel movement (stool)


Less common

    Acid or sour stomach


    difficulty in moving



    joint pain

    muscle aching or cramping

    muscle pains or stiffness



    stomach discomfort, upset, or pain

    trouble sleeping

    unusual drowsiness, dullness, tiredness, weakness, or feeling of sluggishness

    swollen joints


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