Tuesday, Mar 31, 2015Tuesday, Mar 31, 2015

Insulin study could see end to needles: Researchers

Published on Jan 10, 2013 10:01 PM
This undated handout photo provided to AFP on Jan 10, 2013, by the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute shows lead researcher and Associate Professor Mike Lawrence from the Colman Lab, Structural Biology, examining modes for docking insulin (modelled in white) into a three-dimensional structure of the human insulin receptor ectodomain (modelled in yellow and red) in Melbourne. Breakthrough Australian research mapping how insulin works at a molecular level could open the door to novel new diabetes treatments, ending daily needle jabs for millions, scientists said on Jan 10, 2013. --PHOTO: AFP

SYDNEY (AFP) - Breakthrough X-ray research mapping how insulin works at a molecular level could lead to new diabetes treatments and end daily needle jabs for hundreds of millions of sufferers, scientists said on Thursday.

A United States (US)-Australian team said it had revealed in atomic detail for the first time how the hormone insulin binds to the surface of cells, triggering the passage of glucose from the bloodstream so that it is stored as energy.

Scientists have been trying to work out how this binding mechanism works for more than 20 years and the discovery should unlock new and more effective drugs to treat diabetes, lead researcher Mike Lawrence said.

"Until now, we have not been able to see how these molecules interact with cells," said Prof Lawrence, from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne.

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!