The Straits Times
Published on Jan 10, 2013

Insulin study could see end to needles: Researchers


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.