BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – A medication called Verapamil is a common treatment for controlling blood pressure, but researchers have stumbled onto another possible use for it: curing type-one diabetes. A first-of-its-kind trial is now underway, and it could be the cure for what is currently the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S.
Joy Myers didnâ€™t always count carbs.
And she didnâ€™t always have an insulin pump strapped to her hip.
â€œIt calculates how much insulin I get,â€ Myers told Ivanhoe.
Myers has been doing all of this for just over a year, ever since at 41 years old, a near-death experience put her in a coma for nine days.
â€œAs I woke up in the hospital, I was informed that I was a type 1 diabetic,â€ Myers detailed.
Even though itâ€™s typically thought of as juvenile diabetes, type-one can show itself at any age. Myers was diagnosed just as a ground-breaking new study was getting underway.
Dr. Anath Shalev, professor of medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Diabetes Center told Ivanhoe, â€œDiabetes treatment has come a long way. We have different insulins and we have different oral medications, but what we donâ€™t have is any approach that would promote the patientâ€™s own beta cell mass and function.â€Â
Dr. Shalev discovered that the blood pressure medication Verapamil protects the bodyâ€™s beta cells, the only cells capable of producing insulin. Verapamil not only prevented type-one diabetes in mice, but reversed it.
â€œThis could potentially be a cure,â€ said Myers.
As a trial participant, Myers doesnâ€™t know if these blue pills are Verapamil or a placebo. But thatâ€™s not what matters to her.
â€œThis data is going to hopefully, have an effect on the future for someone else,â€ detailed Myers.
Since Verapamil is already FDA- approved and used for controlling blood pressure, it would already be available to prescribe for type-one diabetes if the study is successful.
Dr. Shalev is still looking for people with type-one diabetes to participate in the trial. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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