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Plant protein nanoparticles for controlling diabetes, overweight and obesity

The research center in Nutrition and the Navarrese biotechnology company NUCAPS business are launching a study to validate a low-cost, effective treatment with no side effects.


FotoManuelCastells
/Researchers of the research center in Nutrition of the University of Navarra and members of the business Nucaps who have participated in the project.

24 | 06 | 2022

business The research center in Nutrition of the University of Navarra has launched a project to validate the hypoglycaemic and blood glucose control effect of protein nanoparticles developed at partnership with the Navarrese biotechnology company NUCAPS. To this end, the researchers will carry out a nutritional intervention study in people with high but untreated blood sugar levels, known as pre-diabetes.

According to the International Diabetes Federation, it is estimated that in 2045 some 550 million people in the world will have diabetes or some subject of pre-diabetes. In Spain, according to data of the study Di@bet.es, this problem already affects 1 in 4 people (13.8% of the adult population suffers from diabetes and 14.8% from some subject of pre-diabetes). "This project arises from the results of previous projects developed by the University of Navarra in which it was shown that orally administered nanoparticles improved glucose tolerance in two experimental models, C. elegans and rodents," explains Santiago Navas, researcher , the study's lead author.

"The hypoglycaemic effect associated with oral administration of these nanoparticles is related to their high stability against enzymatic degradation and, particularly, to their ability to reach the intestinal epithelium of the distal regions of the small intestine. Therefore, according to Navas, this new project aims to validate the results obtained previously, which led to a patent application , by means of an intervention study in humans.

A low-cost, effective treatment with no side-effects

The nanoparticles, produced from a food protein, are easy to manufacture and inexpensive. In addition, the protein is considered GRAS, an FDA status (the US government agency that regulates food, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, biological products and blood derivatives) that indicates "Generally Recognised as Safe", and is already used in food and pharmaceutical applications.

"When the results of this study confirm those shown in animal models, a natural productwill be available as an effective treatment without side effects to prevent and combat nutritional and metabolic diseases, such as diabetes," says researcher. "This will safely increase both life expectancy and quality of life, representing a major innovation in food-grade products that can act in a real way and at an affordable cost to improve people's health," he concludes.

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