In a promising discovery that could improve the treatment of diabetes, scientists from the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health (University of Melbourne) have developed a new chemical method that can produce a novel insulin variant in industrial scale.
Using a new chemical strategy, an Australian research team led by Professor Akhter Hossain has successfully synthesised an insulin variant called “insulin dimer” that demonstrates better drug efficacy (e.g., improved stability against enzymes and glucose-lowering effects).
Diabetes is rapidly becoming the biggest epidemic of the 21st century, and thus, more patients than ever are now dependent upon insulin therapy. If no action is taken, about 40 million patients are predicted to be left without insulin by 2030. The growing epidemic of diabetes means that there is an urgent need to develop high-yielding chemical methods and safer and efficacious long-acting insulin analogues.
“Our novel insulin dimer is first in its kind that was physiologically active and more resistant to proteolysis compared with native insulin. Importantly, our new insulin can be produced in a quantitative yield from a thiol insulin scaffold. In pre-clinical studies, the dimer was shown to be equipotent to native insulin and possessed a sustained duration of action greater than that of both native insulin and Glargine, a long-acting insulin analogue. We show that our new insulin molecule has 2.5 times less affinity for IGF1-R (which is known to promote cancers) compared with Glargine. It is highly likely that our insulin dimer will offer safer treatment option”- says Prof Hossain, senior author of the article published in Journal of Medicinal Chemistry: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.jmedchem.1c01594