Type 2 diabetes is largely something that you inflict on yourself. If you don't let yourself get fat and sedentary, the odds are you won't suffer metabolic syndrome or other precursor dsyregulation of metabolism until very late in life, if at all. If you do walk down that road, the progression of the condition can be reversed even quite late by drastic dietary changes and weight loss. But we live in an age of convenience at all cost, and a great deal of research funding goes towards finding treatments that will reverse the effects of type 2 diabetes without asking people to care about managing their health:
In mice with diet-induced diabetes - the equivalent of type 2 diabetes in humans - a single injection of the protein FGF1 is enough to restore blood sugar levels to a healthy range for more than two days. The team found that sustained treatment with the protein doesn't merely keep blood sugar under control, but also reverses insulin insensitivity, the underlying physiological cause of diabetes. Equally exciting, the newly developed treatment doesn't result in side effects common to most current diabetes treatments.
Diabetes drugs currently on the market aim to boost insulin levels and reverse insulin resistance by changing expression levels of genes to lower glucose levels in the blood. But drugs which increase the body's production of insulin, can cause glucose levels to dip too low and lead to life-threatening hypoglycemia, as well as other side effects.
In 2012, [researchers] discovered that a long-ignored growth factor had a hidden function: it helps the body respond to insulin. Unexpectedly, mice lacking the growth factor, called FGF1, quickly develop diabetes when placed on a high-fat diet, a finding suggesting that FGF1 played a key role in managing blood glucose levels. This led the researchers to wonder whether providing extra FGF1 to diabetic mice could affect symptoms of the disease.
[The] team injected doses of FGF1 into obese mice with diabetes to assess the protein's potential impact on metabolism. Researchers were stunned by what happened: they found that with a single dose, blood sugar levels quickly dropped to normal levels in all the diabetic mice. "Many previous studies that injected FGF1 showed no effect on healthy mice. However, when we injected it into a diabetic mouse, we saw a dramatic improvement in glucose. With FGF1, we really haven't seen hypoglycemia or other common side effects. It may be that FGF1 leads to a more 'normal' type of response compared to other drugs because it metabolizes quickly in the body and targets certain cell types."