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Panminerva Medica 2018 September;60(3):117-31

DOI: 10.23736/S0031-0808.18.03455-9


language: English

Current therapies and targets for type 2 diabetes mellitus

Dinesh K. CHELLAPPAN 1, Wei S. YAP 2, Nurfatihah A. BT AHMAD SUHAIMI 2, Gaurav GUPTA 3 , Kamal DUA 4

1 Department of Life Sciences, International Medical University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; 2 School of Health Sciences, International Medical University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; 3 School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Jaipur National University, Jagatpura, Jaipur, India; 4 Department of Pharmacy, Graduate School of Health, Sydney University of Technology, Ultimo, Australia


The prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) has been increasing at an alarming rate. With an increased understanding of the pathophysiology and pathogenesis of T2DM, various new therapeutic options have been developed to target different key defects in T2DM. Incremental innovations of existing therapies either through unprecedented drug combinations, modified drug molecules, or improved delivery systems are capable to nullify some of the undesirable side effects of traditional therapies as well as to enhance effectiveness. The existing administration routes include inhalation, nasal, buccal, parenteral and oral. Newer drug targets such as protein kinase B (Akt/PKB), AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), sirtuin (SIRT), and others are novel approaches that act via different mechanisms and possibly treating T2DM of distinct variations and aetiologies. Other therapies such as endobarrier, gene therapy, and stem cell technology utilize advanced techniques to treat T2DM, and the potential of these therapies are still being explored. Gene therapy is plausible to fix the underlying pathology of T2DM instead of using traditional reactive treatments, especially with the debut of Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats-CRISPR associated protein9 (CRISPR-Cas9) gene editing tool. Molecular targets in T2DM are also being extensively studied as it could target the defects at the molecular level. Furthermore, antibody therapies and vaccinations are also being developed against T2DM; but the ongoing clinical trials are relatively lesser and the developmental progress is slower. Although, there are many therapies designed to cure T2DM, each of them has their own advantages and disadvantages. The preference for the treatment plan usually depends on the health status of the patient and the treatment goal. Therefore, an ideal treatment should take patient’s compliance, efficacy, potency, bioavailability, and other pharmacological and non-pharmacological properties into account.

KEY WORDS: Diabetes mellitus, type 2 - Therapeutics - Review

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