Patients with the rare form of diabetes called maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY-1) are at increased risk getting misdiagnosed as having Type-2 diabetes. Treating patients with this rare genetic form of diabetes with the therapies designed to treat other more common forms of the disease may do more harm than good. underlying problems in patients with the MODY-1 are very different from those in Type-2 diabetes and treating these patients with drugs for Type-2 diabetes appears to lead to destruction of insulin-secreting beta cells that regulate blood sugar.
"People diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes are treated with oral medications that make insulin-secreting beta cells very active," said study first author Benjamin Moore from Massachusetts General Hospital in the US.
"But the MODY-1 pathway we've uncovered shows that stimulating those cells with those drugs can lead to beta cell death. That means these patients can become dependent on insulin injections much sooner," Moore noted.
"It's important to diagnose patients as accurately as possible and to attempt to target the correct pathway," Moore said.
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