Sirtris Reports Promising Diabetes Study
By KEITH J. WINSTEINJanuary 8, 2008
Sirtris Pharmaceuticals Inc. said its formulation of resveratrol, a substance found in red wine, helped diabetics lower their blood sugar in an early-stage clinical trial.
Sirtris, Cambridge, Mass., is working on commercializing resveratrol and related drugs to fight a number of diseases. Advocates suspect resveratrol may also increase life span, though that hasn't yet been shown.
Sirtris released results yesterday from an early-stage study involving 98 diabetics at an investor conference sponsored by J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. in San Francisco. It is the first study to show beneficial effects in humans from resveratrol. Previous studies had focused on mice and rats.
"We chose diabetes because it's a big market, but the biology says the drug could work on any number of diseases," said David Sinclair, a professor at Harvard Medical School and co-founder of Sirtris. The company has said 2012 is the earliest it could get to the market with a diabetes drug, which would happen only if further phases of clinical testing in much larger groups of patients are successful.
In the so-called Phase-1b study, Sirtris gave daily doses of resveratrol to 67 diabetics who weren't on other treatment. It gave placebos to 31 others. The study took place in India.
After 28 days, those taking resveratrol had improved their scores on an oral glucose-tolerance test, which measures the body's ability to break down and use sugar, a fundamental problem for diabetics. Those taking the placebo didn't show an improvement.
Resveratrol also seemed to lower base-line levels of glucose in the blood, though that result wasn't statistically significant. None of the patients reported a significant side effect, the company said.
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