Discovery of Chemical That Affects Biological Clock Offers New Way to Treat Diabetes

July 12, 2012

Biologists at UC San Diego have discovered a chemical that offers a completely new and promising direction for the development of drugs to treat metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes—a major public health concern in the United States due to the current obesity epidemic.

Their discovery, detailed in a paper published July 13 in an advance online issue of the journal Science, initially came as a surprise because the chemical they isolated does not directly control glucose production in the liver, but instead affects the activity of a key protein that regulates the internal mechanisms of our daily night and day activities, which scientists call our circadian rhythm or biological clock.

The team was headed by Prof. Steve Kay, dean of the Division of Biological Sciences and a faculty member of the Bioinformatics and Systems Biology program.

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