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A positive HbA1c test for diabetes may mean that an individual will need to take insulin injections for the rest of their life. However, a team of researchers from the Mayo Clinic may have discovered a way to make the hormone more effective in individuals with the condition.
The team proposed inhibiting insulin-degrading enzymes, which break down molecules of the hormone after it has been released by the pancreas.
In type 2 diabetes, individuals’ pancreases still produce insulin, but their bodies’ tissues have become resistant to its effects. Therefore, higher levels of the hormone are needed to control blood sugar. For many people this means insulin injections.
However, the researchers said that stopping the natural breakdown of the hormone could result in consistently higher levels without the need for injections. This could lead to healthier blood sugar levels.
"Insulin levels in the blood reflect the balance between how much is secreted and how fast it is broken down," said Malcolm A. Leissring, who led the study. "Blocking the breakdown of insulin is simply an alternative method for achieving the same goal as many existing diabetes therapies."
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