Exciting new research could lead the way to a breakthrough in treating diabetes-related kidney disease

Exciting new research could lead the way to a breakthrough in treating diabetes-related kidney disease

Metabolic memory, a phenomenon where episodes of hyperglycaemia continue to increase a person’s risk of diabetes-related complications long after blood glucose levels have returned to target range, is at the centre of a new study at Monash University.

In particular the new study is looking at ways of reducing the impact of metabolic memory in the hope of developing new treatments for diabetes-related kidney failure.

Kidney failure is one of the most debilitating complications of diabetes and is three times more likely in people with diabetes.

Lead by Monash University’s Professor of Diabetes Mark Cooper, the study, funded by the Diabetes Australia Research Program, is looking at the Set7 enzyme and its role in metabolic memory.

Enzymes are protein molecules that act as catalysts in the body.

“Addressing metabolic memory is important because episodes of hyperglycaemia are part and parcel of everyone’s life with diabetes and if we can address metabolic memory we can lower the risk of long-term complications,” Professor Cooper said.

“We believe the Set7 enzyme may play a role in metabolic memory so we will be removing that enzyme from mice and studying how they react.

“That will help us understand if Set7 does have a role in metabolic memory and, if it does, how we can treat this.

“If we are successful, it could be a step towards developing a drug that turns off the Set7 enzyme and mitigates the long-term effects of metabolic memory.”

Diabetes Australia CEO Greg Johnson said funding and supporting research was a critical part of responding to the diabetes epidemic.

“Diabetes is the single biggest challenge confronting Australia’s health system and research into how we can prevent and manage the condition is critical to meeting the challenges we face,” Diabetes Australia CEO Greg Johnson said. “We hope Professor Mark Cooper’s research into metabolic memory will help contribute to ways of reducing the burden of diabetes-related kidney disease.” The Diabetes Australia Research Program was established in 1987 to support and develop diabetes related research across Australia.