New genetic testing research studied 150,000 people finding a rare protective mechanism against type 2 diabetes — even for those that are obese.
This mutation is so powerful, it reduces type 2 diabetes risk by two-thirds according to the New York Times — providing promise for pharmaceutical interventions to fight this disease.
In a round-robin of sorts researchers studied subjects without type 2 diabetes that had significant risk factors such as obesity and age; they also studied subjects at low risk for developing the disease and those diagnosed with it but with low risk factors.
Finally, a mutated gene with benefits. Those lucky enough to have this mutation (ZnT8) have lower blood sugars and slightly higher insulin levels throughout their lives — imagine the luck of the draw.
In fact, "this is the first time in diabetes research that a mutation that destroys a gene has proved beneficial," states Louis Philipson, director of the Kovler Diabetes Center at the University of Chicago in the New York Times. For the pharmaceutical companies, “that is very powerful.”
Pfizer isn't behind the eight ball on the research either. This pharmaceutical giant is trying to craft a drug that would essentially act as the mutated gene would — benefits and all.
Don't hold your breath, Timothy Rolph a vice president at Pfizer warns it could take "10 to 20 years" for a drug to hit your pharmacy.
What does this mean for the rest of us?
It means that mouse and cellular experiments aren't always right. Much to scientists surprise, with the gene mutation located, the possible reduction in people's risk of this disease could be reduced by 65 percent according to US News.
If you're wondering what the mutated gene may mean for someone's future health risks with regards to other diseases — Dr. Stefanson in the New York Times said these patients aren't at higher risk for the 750 diseases he researched.