University of Tennessee Secures $1.98m to Pursue Possibly Breakthrough Protein Receptor to Address Type 2 Diabetes

University of Tennessee Secures $1.98m to Pursue Possibly Breakthrough Protein Receptor to Address Type 2 Diabetes

University of Tennessee (UT) Health Science Center Memphis investigators secured $2 million to pursue their potentially breakthrough diabetes research. The Mid-South region in America has been severely impacted by Type 2 diabetes. Although still years away from any commercialization, TrialSite News introduces GPRC6A.


With the recent $1.98 million from the National Institute of Health for diabetes research, precious financial resources can now be put to good use to progress the research around a protein receptor with a unique biologic profile: GPRC6A.

Preclinical Research

Still in the very early days, this preclinical research centers around the protein receptor GPRC6A. The UT researchers suspect that the protein could possibly contribute to the regulation of metabolism and hence, could affect diabetes and other metabolic issues.

Study leads Dr. Darryl Quarles and Dr. Lu Lu, with the UT Health Science Center’s College of Medicine, believe that after several years of study utilizing mice specimen and other early stage experiments, the duo believe the trajectory looks more promising as the understanding of how to treat type 2 diabetes in adults, along with other metabolic conditions, unfolds reports Memphis’ WMC Action News.


A protein receptor, the team has produced early-stage study results that identify new insights into G protein, coupled receptor regulation of glucose metabolism by β-cells, skeletal muscle and liver hepatocytes identify GPRC6A as a possible therapeutic target for type 2 diabetes. The investigators believe that a “paradigm-shifting opportunity” exists by activating GPRC6A with a small molecule drug in the quest to regulate glucose homeostasis by simultaneously correcting multiple metabolic derangements underlying type 2 diabetes, such as abnormalities in β-cell proliferation and insulin secretion and peripheral insulin resistance. A series of very early stage research studies lead the investigators to believe that GPRC6A is a “druggable” target for developing chemical probes to treat type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Quarles suggests that based on what they have observed thus far their vision would be that this “drug would do what many other drugs on the market do separately” but “would do it together in a coordinated fashion.”

Early Stages

Note that this research is still in preclinical stage and has years ahead. If the UT team’s hypothesis is correct, they hope that within a decade or so that GPRC6A could be translated into a commercialized drug.

Lead Research/Investigator

Dr. Darryl Quarles, Professor/Division Chief Medicine—Nephrology

Dr. Lu Lu, Professor Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology


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