Sat, Feb 21, 2009 - Page 2 News List

New use found for diabetes medicine

By Shelley Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The National Health Research Institute (NHRI) yesterday discovered a new use for a diabetes drug that will significantly decrease the rate of cell death during hemorrhagic stroke.

Researchers at the NHRI discovered that insulin sensitizers, which are used to treat diabetes, can also decrease the amount of brain tissue that is destroyed during hemorrhagic stroke by up to 50 percent. The research has been published in this month’s edition of the medical journal Circulation.

During a hemorrhagic stroke, blood vessels fail to supply blood to the brain, causing cell and tissue destruction, which is a leading cause of cardiovascular diseases.

“We discovered that the increase of protein 14-3-3E that is related to nuclear receptor PPAR can decrease apoptosis, which is an important mechanism for protecting cells during a stroke,” National Health Research Institute president Kenneth Wu (伍焜玉) said.

The researchers performed laboratory tests by injecting Rosiglitazone, a treatment for diabetes, into mice suffering from hemorrhagic stroke. They found that the injection successfully decreased the amount of tissue necrosis by as much as 50 percent if injected within two hours of the stroke.

“Our findings suggest that when PPAR is stimulated, it will speed up the production of the 14-3-3E protein. This will help protect cells and decrease instances of apoptosis [cell death],” Wu said.

Wu said that if the drug is injected within two hours of the stroke, it is even more effective. However, further research is needed to determine the relationship between dosage and timing, he said.

The research institute plans to cooperate with medical institutions to enter into the next phase of clinical trial.

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