Researchers develop ointment to reverse neuropathy in diabetic patients
More than 25% type-2 diabetes patients suffer from neuropathy, a condition that causes numbness and nerve pain in the feet. But, new research from Northwestern University has found a way to reverse the condition. This new study gives hope to diabetic patients with high levels of GM3, a type of ganglioside that causes pain in feet.
According to Dr. Amy Paller, corresponding author and Walter J. Hamlin professor of Dermatology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and director of Northwestern's Skin Disease Research Center, "We have such terrible treatments right now for the neuropathy of diabetes. We are basically only treating the pain. This is a novel pathogenesis-based approach that looks at what's causing the neuropathy and reverses that instead of just treating the pain."
After finding that by depleting GM3 through genetic modification prevented the development of neuropathy in mice, the researchers created an ointment to reduce the chemical and enzyme that makes it. Dr. Daniela Menichella, assistant professor of neurology at Feinberg whose focus is clinical care and laboratory-based research of diabetic neuropathy said, “The type of neuropathy that researchers are trying to treat goes beyond typical numbness some patients with neuropathy experience. You have shooting pain, which is the unbearable part. Pain is a debilitating affliction and one of the worst complications of diabetes."
Going forward, the researchers want to test the ointment on humans in clinical trials to conclude it has the same beneficial effect. Paller concluded, "If the studies look promising in mice, our long-term goal would be to further test safety and advance to human clinical trials to prevent and/or reverse the development of diabetic neuropathy."