A West Virginia University graduate student is studying an unexplored enzyme that could lead to new diabetes treatments.
Stephanie Shumar is a graduate student in WVU's School of Medicine and is studying biochemistry and molecular biology.
"This is kind of the initial step for us to be able to understand something that has not been studied before," said Shumar. "Hopefully this will put another piece into the puzzle of the different things that are affected in metabolic diseases, like diabetes. Hopefully this will give us a better understanding and provide a framework and something that, further on down the line, can be used to help us treat diabetes."
The university says in a news release that conventional diabetes medications work by stabilizing blood sugar levels, not by improving chemical processes behind how the body produces and processes blood sugar. Shumar says that's like a motorist who doesn't fix an antifreeze leak but instead keeps pouring more into the car.
Shumar was awarded $88,000 by the National Institutes of Health for a two-year investigation into how one enzyme regulates coenzyme A levels and glucose production in the liver. High concentrations of coenzyme A in the liver can affect blood sugar levels.