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New public private partnership holds promises for diabetes research

A team of scientists at Drug Discovery Research Centre (DDRC) of the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI) headed by Dr Kanury Rao, has joined hands with Revelations Biotech, a Hyderabad based Research and Development Company pursuing research in the fields of drug discovery, molecular biology and enyzymology to pursue cutting edge research on this front.
They plan to develop a data based software package that will not only identify individuals who are becoming susceptible to diabetes, but also predict future course of disease in those who are already diabetic.
It is anticipated that the advance warning provided by such a system will allow target individuals to preemptively make appropriate lifestyle alterations so as to mitigate disease development and prevent its progression.

The team will use a cocktail of expertise consisting of mathematicians, software specialists and biologists to develop the software package. They will analyze blood samples of diabetes patients collected over more than eighteen years by a network of clinicians to identify abnormalities in blood constituents that appears early in diabetes patients. The team is confident that the database and its analysis will help detect early changes that occur in the blood of patients who later turn diabetic.

Their approach to develop the platform for early detection of diabetes will involve an innovative combination of exhaustive molecular characterization of samples from patients, with mathematical approaches to precisely define the molecular signatures for each of the individual stages of the disease. For this, they now have a sample base of 2000 patients, which they intend to extend to 6000.

Machine learning approaches will then exploit these signatures to capture patterns that characterize the different diseases trajectories. Examples of such trajectories are from a healthy to a pre-diabetic state, from pre-diabetic to diabetic, diabetic state leading to either eye/kidney and/or heart disease. Such trajectories will then be integrated into an artificial intelligence-based platform that can predict future disease-specific outcomes based on the current health state of an individual.

The second program is to develop a new drug that will prevent re-absorption of glucose in the kidneys. This re-absorption process contributes to maintaining the high glycemic levels in diabetics. Inhibition of this process by an effective drug therefore will lead to a significant lowering of the blood glucose level.

The goal is to develop a highly efficient and selective inhibitor against the Sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2). SGLT2 is a glucose transport protein that is involved in glucose re-absorption in the kidney.