EXETER, England, Apr 30, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A 40-year-old drug thought to be dangerous for newborns with diabetes has been determined to be exactly what they needed, The Telegraph reported Friday.
The discovery was made in Brazil accidentally 40 years when doctors had no insulin for a newborn. At that time, the drugs were beginning to be used to treat adult (type 2) diabetes, so doctors prescribed the boy the drugs in desperation.
The child responded, and is now 46 years old.
Now, the underlying cause of about one third of the cases of such neonatal diabetes has been discovered by an international team, including scientists in Exeter's Peninsula Medical School in England and the University of Oxford.
The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, shows that mutations in a gene called Kir6.2 are a common cause of the disease, and accordingly, why sulphonylurea drugs work.
Dr. Anna Gloyn of Peninsula Medical School, the lead author, said, "It is a very exciting finding that has resulted in the real possibility of stopping insulin injections."
Copyright 2004 by United Press International.