Washington [US] : Dasatinib, a drug that often is used to treat certain types of leukaemia, may have anti-diabetic effects comparable to medications used to treat diabetes, and with more research may become a novel therapy for diabetic patients, according to new research by researchers at Mayo Clinic and the University Of Connecticut School Of Medicine.
The study was published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Dasatinib is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor used to treat tumours and malignant tissue, as well as chronic myelogenous leukaemia.
Researchers wanted to know if dasatinib also has antidiabetic properties for older patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Using a Mayo Clinic database with more than 9 million case histories spanning 25 years, they determined it may have an anti-diabetic effect comparable to or perhaps greater than current medications used to treat type 2 diabetes.
Dasatinib is a senolytic drug, a type of agent first identified at Mayo Clinic that in animal studies targets senescent cells.
These cells accumulate in many tissues with ageing and at sites of pathology in chronic diseases, and in animal studies, senolytic drugs appear to delay, prevent or alleviate age-related changes, chronic diseases, and geriatric syndromes.
“Our findings suggest that dasatinib or related senolytic drugs may become diabetic therapies, more study is needed to determine whether these findings also are observed in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus but without underlying malignant disease,” says Robert Pignolo, MD, PhD, the study’s senior author.
Researchers used Mayo Clinic’s Informatics for Integrating Biology at the Bedside, a framework that organizes and transforms patient records into a deidentified research database. The retrospective study started with a total of 9.3 million individuals who were screened for use of either dasatinib or imatinib, another tyrosine kinase inhibitor that was approved for the treatment of a type of leukemia in 2001 but with weak senolytic activity.
The records were for Mayo patients from 1994 to 2019. Of those patients, 279 were treated with imatinib and 118 with dasatinib, and after the further screening, a total of 48 patients were included in the study.
The findings show that dasatinib lowers serum glucose in patients with pre-existing type 2 diabetes to a greater degree than imatinib and is comparable to first-line diabetic medications such as metformin and sulfonylureas.