A Harvard University researcher may have found a new and inexpensive way to treat diabetes, thanks to an old medical article from 1876.
Dr Steven Shoelson's past research suggested a drug called salsalate may help diabetics improve their ability to control their blood sugar, the Washington Post reports. However, it wasn't until Shoelson found the old article published in a German medical journal suggesting the same thing that he pushed for more research.
"It was then that I said, 'Aha! We're on to something big,'" Dr Shoelson told the news provider.
Since then, Shoelson and his colleagues have conducted several small studies of the drug with type 2 diabetes with promising results, according to the article. A larger study was funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and was launched late last year.
If diabetics were able to use salsalate, normally used to treat arthritis pain, it could change the treatment landscape of the condition drastically, given the drug is inexpensive. This means patients in the U.S. and developing countries, where diabetes is on the rise, could benefit.
"Improving glucose control lowers the cost of diabetes treatment and the risk of complications and hospitalizations," Myrlene Staten, a NIH, told the Post.