July 19, 2023
Media Statement

Fresh West Australian research suggests a new medication helping people with type 2 diabetes may also help protect the health of people with type 1 diabetes.

A study completed by Dr Lakshini Herat and team, which was part funded by Diabetes Research WA and has just been published in iScience journal, shows Sotagliflozin helped reduce blood glucose levels in mice with type 1 diabetes.

“In addition to the metabolic benefits we saw, treatment with Sotagliflozin also provided protection to vital organs like the pancreas and kidneys, and decreased the activation of the sympathetic nervous system,” explained Dr Herat, from UWA’s School of Biomedical Sciences and the Dobney Hypertension Centre.

“Importantly, it also prevented deaths associated with diabetes in these mice.”

Sotagliflozin is one of a new class of ‘wonder drugs’ known as SGLT1/2 inhibitors because they suppress both the body’s SGLT1 and SGLT2 transport proteins. While SGLT2 is mostly limited to expression in the kidneys and the retina, SGLT1 is more widely distributed throughout the body.

“In earlier studies, our team found that inhibiting SGLT2 actually causes an increase in SGLT1, which minimises the positive impact of SGLT2 treatments,” said Dr Herat.

“While we need to investigate further, this research suggests inhibiting both of these transport proteins offers greater benefits, adding weight to the idea this could be a superior treatment approach in both type 1 and 2 diabetes.”

Dr Herat won a $60,000 grant for this work, which also involved colleagues Dr Vance Matthews and Professor Markus Schlaich, from Diabetes Research WA last year.

She was also the recipient of the charity’s 2010 Alex Cohen Diabetes Scholarship and in 2020 received a grant to look at the use of SGLT2 inhibitors in diabetic retinopathy, which can lead to blindness.

Diabetes Research WA manager Dr Caitlin Fox-Harding said the organisation was proud to have supported this research.

“Diabetes is a leading cause of kidney disease as it can damage blood vessels and cells in the kidneys,” she said.

“This can mean people with diabetes have to undergo dialysis or receive kidney transplants, so there’s a real need for better treatment options.

“Diabetes Research WA is very pleased to have supported Dr Herat and her team’s search for fresh ways to tackle this health issue, thanks to our generous donors.”




Media contact: Natalie Caudle, m0407 984 435, natcaudle@gmail.com