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Beta-cell preservation key for Korean diabetes patients
  • By Lee Han-soo
  • Published 2018.12.19 15:55
  • Updated 2018.12.19 15:55
  • comments 0

An expert has claimed that beta cell preservation is essential for the management of type 2 diabetes among Koreans, who have smaller pancreas than those of Westerners.

Kim Sun-woo, vice president of Takeda Pharmaceutical Korea, stresses the importance of controlling the functions of beta cells in treating diabetes patients, at the company’s headquarters in Samseong-dong, Seoul, Wednesday.

Kim Sun-woo, vice president of Takeda Pharmaceutical Korea, said that Actos, the company’s diabetes drug containing pioglitazone and protects beta cells, is essential for lowering blood glucose in Korean patients with type 2 diabetes.

“As the eating habits and lifestyle are gradually becoming Westernized, the share of obese people is increasing in Korea,” Kim said. “Also, patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus have already lost 50 percent of their beta cells ability when they are diagnosed with the disease.”

In recent years, the type 2 diabetes mellitus has developed at a relatively young age, and the time of beta cell death is increasingly advanced, he added.

Patients can improve beta cell function through not just exercise or diet but therapy. A typical case is a thiazolidinedione (TZD)-based drug to which pioglitazone belongs.

“Several studies have shown that TZD reduces fat toxicity with a powerful insulin sensitizer that improves blood glucose control and improves beta cell functions by preventing deaths in the cells in type 2 diabetic patients,” Kim said. “Pioglitazone preserves beta cells and improves their function by improving beta cell periphery.”

By lowering the free fatty acids and pro-inflammatory cytokines around the beta cells, it makes them more sensitive to insulin, he added.

Kim also stressed that the current treatment of diabetes is too focused on insulin secretion, and although patients can regulate blood sugar by tiring out beta cells, eventually it breaks down the function of beta cells, which in turn makes it difficult to control blood sugar.

However, patients can resolve such issues by taking TZD-based drugs, which allows beta cells to take a break, Kim noted. “The most effective drug is pioglitazone because it restores the function of the pancreas rather than simply lowering blood sugar,” he added.

The company has also confirmed the company’s drug reduced the incidence of all-cause mortality, non-fatal myocardial infarction, and non-fatal stroke after conducting a PROactive study on patients with type 2 diabetes who are at high risk for macrovascular disease.

"Although the PROactive study showed an increased risk of heart failure, recent studies have identified patients who were at increased risk for heart failure,” Kim said. “It also relieved the stability issues of weight gain, fractures, and cystitis that had previously been associated with Actos.”


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