Researchers from Swansea University have discovered that a medication frequently used to treat type 2 diabetes may also be effective in treating autoimmune diseases.
Researchers at the University’s Faculty of Medicine, Health, and Life Sciences have discovered that the medication canagliflozin, also known as Invokana, may be used to treat autoimmune diseases like systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis because it targets T-cells, a vital immune system component. Canagliflozin is a medication that lowers blood sugar levels in persons with type 2 diabetes, but researchers have discovered that it also has an unanticipated effect on the immune system.
Targeting T-cell metabolism in autoimmune disease has been shown to have therapeutic advantages. T-cells are a type of white blood cell that aids in the body’s defense against infections and sickness, but they have been seen to assault healthy tissues in autoimmune diseases.
Canagliflozin dampens T-cell activation, according to a recent study that was published in the journal Cell Metabolism. This finding raises the possibility that the medication could be used to treat T-cell-driven autoimmunity.
Dr. Nick Jones, senior author who led the study said, “Our findings are significant as they provide the foundation for the clinical development of canagliflozin for the treatment of certain autoimmune diseases. As the drug is already widely used and has a known safety profile in humans, it could potentially reach clinic quicker than any new drugs developed and bring valuable benefits more swiftly to patients with autoimmune disorders.”
Ben Jenkins, first author and postdoctoral researcher at Swansea said, “Identifying new roles for drugs that are currently being used in other disease settings is an exciting area of research. Given that our research primarily targets the metabolism of immune cells, we hope that the potential therapeutic benefits of our findings are applicable to a wide range of conditions.”
Canagliflozin may one day be tested in a clinical setting for the treatment of specific autoimmune diseases, according to the researchers.
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