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Australian scientists discover mystery of insulin




CANBERRA,  Australian scientists have discovered the exact way the body handles insulin and that could lead to more efficient and much more convenient treatments, said the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne on Thursday.

According to Xinhua News Agency, a research team, led by the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute ( WEHI), worked with international researchers from the United States, the United Kingdom and Prague on the study.

They have discovered how molecules of insulin bind to a protein on the cells of the body, process that scientists have been trying to solve for two decades. The study was published today in the journal Nature.

The scientists said in a statement from WEHI they were excited to reveal for the first time a three-dimensional view of insulin bound to its receptor. About one million Australians have diabetes with around 100,000 new diagnoses each year. This discovery could spell the end of daily injections for hundreds of thousands of Australians.

Associate Professor Mike Lawrence, one of the research team leader, said the research is a key development in piecing together the puzzle of insulin, and will have practical implications in the design of new types of medication.

"Understanding how insulin interacts with the insulin receptor is fundamental to the development of novel insulins for the treatment of diabetes," he said in a statement.

"Until now we have not been able to see how these molecules interact with cells. We can now exploit this knowledge to design new insulin medications with improved properties, which is very exciting."He said.