RALEIGH, N.C., Feb. 15, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Despite years of efforts by the government and medical associations to educate the public about the dangers of diabetes and the need for a healthy lifestyle, the number of Americans afflicted by this potentially life-threatening disease keeps climbing.

Recent statistics from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) show that almost 26 million Americans now have diabetes, a nine percent increase since 2008. Almost 79 million have "prediabetes." The CDC has warned that if diabetes continues on its current course, it could affect one third of all adult Americans by 2050. 

New Medicines Needed

"For people who have diabetes, a healthy lifestyle and the right medication should be an important part of any treatment regimen," explains internist and nephrologist Steve Grossman, MD, a clinician with more than 25 years of drug development experience in cardiovascular, critical care and metabolic diseases, who is medical consultant to DARA Biosciences and Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at the North Carolina School of Medicine. "But medicines currently available may treat only one part of the problem at a time – high cholesterol, or high triglycerides or elevated blood sugar. That requires the patient to take multiple drugs to control the problem, increasing the chances for drug interactions and side effects."

One medicine in Phase 1 clinical development -- DARA Biosciences' DB959 -- appears to have a positive effect on cholesterol and triglycerides while it also lowers blood sugar – without causing the weight gain seen with other drugs of its type. It is a PPAR (peroxisome proliferator activated receptor) agonist but is in a different chemical class from the PPAR agonist drugs currently on the market.

Although it is in the early stages of development, the pharmacologists working on it think the drug is quite promising. The Company plans to present detailed results about the drug at an upcoming scientific meeting in the first half of 2011.

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