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Medicine | BRIEFLY

New drug aids in insulin production

June 27, 2005|From Associated Press

An experimental treatment has shown promise in helping certain diabetics retain some ability to make insulin, potentially lessening their need for shots of the hormone to regulate blood sugar levels.

Researchers tested the novel drug on newly diagnosed diabetics who still had some insulin function left. After 1 1/2 years, the placebo group lost an average one-third of its insulin production ability and needed 50% more insulin in shots to regulate blood sugar. The group that got the drug lowered insulin dependence by 12% and increased insulin-making capability. The drug worked best in patients who still had about half of their insulin function remaining.

However, nearly all the people who took the drug had symptoms of mononucleosis, a white-blood-cell disorder caused by a virus, and flulike symptoms including fever and headache.

The study was published in the June 24 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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