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University of Arizona researchers believe the liver may hold the key to treating type 2 diabetes

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They hope this effort will reverse the diabetes trend.

TUCSON (KVOA) - Researchers at the University of Arizona believe they may have found a promising new pathway to treating type 2 diabetes.

In Arizona, 9.3% of the population has type 2 diabetes.

Another 48% is considered to be pre-diabetic.

Finding a drug that could help, would affect about 50% of the state's population.

Type 2 diabetes is a disorder that stems from the body not producing enough insulin or resisting insulin.

As the rates of obesity rise, so do the number of people suffering from the disorder.

University of Arizona researchers hope to change that. They believe the liver could hold the key to innovative new treatments.

Ben Renquist works as an associate professor in UArizona's School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Research.

He's spent years working to learn how the liver affects insulin sensitivity.

Renquist says for years they've known the amount of fat in the liver increases with obesity, and they've found that fat in the liver increased the release of a neurotransmitter known as GABA.

They're currently developing novel therapeutics and plan to test the therapeutics in rodents immediately.

"What we're doing is trying to block the production of GABA, and if we block the production of GABA, we seem to resolve insulin resistance in mice, so the mice become normally insulin resistant," said Renquist.

Clinical trials are currently underway at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

As for a timeline on getting the therapeutics out to the general public, Renquist believes that it could take five to seven years.

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Destiny Quinn

Destiny Quinn is the new morning anchor for Tucson Today. She comes to Tucson from Jonesboro, Arkansas.

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