Man the pumps
Drugs can overcome mutations in proteins
Diseases can occur when membrane proteins function incorrectly or not at all, and drugs often work by affecting how these proteins function.
For example, researchers found that diabetes in some newborn babies was caused by mutations in a potassium ion channel that affected the secretion of insulin from cells in the pancreas.
In affected babies, the potassium channels are stuck open, but researchers found a drug that can close the channels and trigger the release of insulin.
The drug can be given as a tablet, which means that children with this form of the disease are spared the regular insulin injections used to treat diabetes.