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New Milestones In Diabetes Treatment

New Milestones In Diabetes Treatment And Understanding Announced At Scientific Congress In Christchurch

Christchurch, New Zealand, Wednesday, 29 August 2001 - Two new milestones in the treatment and prevention of diabetes have been announced at the 34th International Congress of Physiological Sciences, New Zealand's largest ever scientific gathering, being held in Christchurch this week. Garth Cooper, Professor of Biochemistry in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Auckland, said the discoveries would help alleviate the suffering of thousands of New Zealanders and others around the world with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

Professor Cooper yesterday announced to Congress delegates the discovery of a new mechanism by which insulin-producing cells in the pancreas are destroyed - a major cause of Type 2 diabetes. The knowledge is expected to open up new avenues for the prevention and suppression of this type of diabetes.

"This is a major discovery that has given us a new understanding of how Type 2 diabetes develops over time. Our hope is that this knowledge will enable us to pursue new methods and techniques to prevent the destruction of the body's insulin production system," he said. "Progress like this gives us the motivation to continue doing our research, pursuing successful treatments that combat widespread diseases like diabetes."

Professor Cooper also said that a major step forward in another treatment for diabetes had been achieved over the past week, with the successful final clinical trials of the therapeutic version of the hormone Amylin. This has been found to be effective by the Federal Drug Administration in the United States. Professor Cooper said the drug, based on the hormone that he discovered 15 years ago, was expected to be made available for use by insulin requiring diabetics within the next 12 months.

"It has been a long road, but we are delighted that the drug has been proven and is likely to be available for those suffering with diabetes in the very near future," said Professor Cooper.


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