Breakthrough Type 2 Diabetes Gene Found

September 7, 2009

(ChattahBox)—A team of international researchers has discovered a new type of gene linked to type 2 diabetes, which could lead to future therapies to control the chronic lifelong disease marked by high glucose levels in the blood. There is a great need for new therapies to treat diabetes, as the disease affects nearly 246 million people world wide.

The researchers from Canada, France, the UK and Denmark discovered the new gene, Insulin Receptor Substrate 1 (IRS1), by testing the genetic material from two groups of more than 6,000 French participants.

The new gene is the first genetic link found to type 2 diabetes that responds to insulin already in the bloodstream, rather than controlling how insulin is created in the pancreas.

Dr. Robert Sladek of McGill University and the Génome Québec Innovation Centre in Montreal said, “IRS1 has to do with the function of the other tissues in the body. Rather than reduce production of insulin, this gene reduces the effect of insulin in muscles, liver and fat, a process called insulin resistance.”

The researchers also discovered the genetic trigger, which leads to the malfunction in the IRS1 gene. The trigger is a a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), which isn’t obviously linked genetically to the IRS1 gene, but nevertheless is responsible for its mutation.

The SNP “…causes 40-per-cent reduction in the IRS1 gene, and even more important, a 40-per-cent reduction in its activity. Which means that even if insulin is present, it won’t work,” said Sladek.

Someday scientists hope to develop a genetic therapy to turn on the IRS1 gene, so that it works to properly draw glucose from the blood.

The study is available in the new edition of Nature Genetics.



2 Responses to “Breakthrough Type 2 Diabetes Gene Found”

  1. jay on September 7th, 2009 11:34 pm

    dr sladek u rock dude!!!

  2. Dr. Charles Martin on September 9th, 2009 2:44 pm

    Excellent post about promising research. Let’s hope these new findings can be rapidly translated into therapies that can make tangible inroads against insulin resistance and help address the type 2 diabetes epidemic.

    We write extensively about related issues at, especially the links between elevated blood sugar and gum disease that can interfere with diabetes control and significantly increase risk of serious health events such as heart attack, stroke and blindness.

    – Charles Martin, DDS
    Founder, Dentistry For Diabetics

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