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Te reo tipu - a bittersweet quest for new anti-diabetic agents in rongoā rākau

67 months
Approved budget:
Dr Jonni Koia
Health issue:
Proposal type:
Māori Health Postdoctoral Fellowship
Lay summary
Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is particularly prevalent among Maori. Many type 2 diabetics use healthy eating, exercise and drugs to help control blood glucose levels. The common anti-diabetic drugs are associated with side effects such as weight gain, heart failure and fluid retention. Thus, there is a need to find new anti-diabetic agents that target insulin resistance that is a feature of T2D. Additionally, for Maori there is evidence that culturally relevant management approaches provide better outcomes. An understudied possibility is traditional rongoa rakau (Maori herbal medicine) with known anti-diabetic efficacy. Although New Zealand contains a rich unique flora collection, rongoa rakau have not yet been clinically evaluated for use in T2D treatment. In this study, cell-culture screening and animal model systems will be explored to determine the anti-diabetic efficacy of a number of rongoa rakau known to traditionally treat T2D, and matauranga Maori will be safeguarded through working with relevant Maori community.