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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

A&S Chemist Awarded NIH Grant to Develop New Diabetes Drug

Doyle portrait

Posted on: Aug. 9, 2021

Robert Doyle, a Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor, Dean's Professor of Chemistry and Associate Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology at SUNY Upstate Medical University, will serve as a principal investigator along with Professor Matthew Hayes from the University of Pennsylvania on a four-year, $2.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. Their project, “Second generation GLP-1 agonists without nausea/emesis side effects,” will explore how to remove the nausea, illness and weight loss associated with a class of Type 2 diabetes treatments called GLP-1 receptor agonists.

As Type 2 diabetes rates reach record highs, the team seeks to find a safe, effective and economically achievable therapy for the treatment of this disease. Previous research has investigated drugs based on a hormone called GLP-1 for diabetes treatment. While it has shown an ability to lower blood glucose concentrations, they unfortunately come with unwelcome side effects including nausea and vomiting, with around 25% of patients unable to tolerate effective doses.

By chemically attaching Corrin ring containing molecules such as vitamin B12 or dicyanocobinamide, in a process coined by Doyle as 'corrination,' with an FDA approved GLP-1 based drug, Doyle and Hayes hope to develop a treatment that eliminates all nausea and vomiting side effects, while retaining the desired blood glucose lowering profile. This drug would improve patient quality of life and expand the population that can benefit from such important therapies, including diabetes patients with other diseases and disorders including cancer, HIV and cystic fibrosis.