Higher levels of certain blood proteins may protect people from developing type 2 diabetes, according to a recent Yeshiva University study. The proteins, IGF-1, IGFBP-1, IGFBP-2 and IGFBP-3, are part of the insulin-like growth factor (IGF) axis, so named because they influence blood sugar levels and cell growth. In the study, blood from 742 women who developed diabetes and from about 750 women who did not develop diabetes was analyzed. Participants who were in the top 20 of highest blood levels of IGFBP-1 had a three times lower risk of developing diabetes than those who were in the lowest 20 percent of blood levels of IGFBP-1. Those with the highest blood levels of IGFBP-2 had a five-fold reduced risk of developing diabetes. IGF-axis proteins may help identify people at increased risk of developing diabetes, and also may be targets for new therapies to treat or prevent diabetes. “IGF-axis proteins have other effects, some beneficial and some not,” says lead researcher Howard Strickler. “We need to learn more about the connection between the IGF-axis and diabetes before we recommend that people get tested for these substances, and before deciding how we can exploit the IGF-1 axis to help address diabetes.”