Sulforaphanoids – new potential antidiabetic drugs

Broccoli is the basis for the research breakthrough

There is a very great need for new drugs to combat type 2 diabetes. Around 60 million of the 300 million people who currently live with the disease cannot for various reasons (such as high blood pressure and/or diminished kidney function) take the medicine, primarily metformin, which is available.

“It specifically concerns the development of a drug that reduces glucose production in the liver and the substance we are working with, sulforaphane, does just that. Patients can be helped by taking broccoli concentrate, which contains large amounts of the substance, but we have optimised the molecule to obtain, if possible, an even stronger effect”, says Anders Rosengren, doctor and associate professor at the University of Gothenburg.

Broccoli molecule modified

The research team has already attracted considerable attention since showing that broccoli can help people with type 2 diabetes. The funding from Swelife, however, has been used to support the work to build the modified sulforaphane molecule.

“The support from Swelife has been very valuable for taking basic research forward to application. We have shown that our molecule reduces glucose production in the liver of diabetic animals. Now we will move forward to a larger animal study. We have further modified the molecule and have several different variants that we believe can be taken up more easily by the body”, says Anders Rosengren.

The new animal study will begin in the autumn of 2017 and Anders Rosengren hopes that a pharmaceutical candidate can be trialled on patients within two years.

Several unique benefits

“There are many whose work focuses on tackling type 2 diabetes via the liver’s glucose production. Our solution tackles the central disease mechanism and also has a very mild side effect profile.

Anders Rosengren estimates that all the process studies and phase 1 and 2 studies will be completed in five years.

“By that time, we hope to have found a partner in order to progress to a larger scale. We are open to collaboration in different constellations.”

Updated: 1 August 2017

Text: Jörgen Olsson

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