Sangamo BioSciences, one of JDRF’s Industry Discovery and Development Partners, recently announced that it has completed the enrollment of its Phase 2 multi-center placebo-controlled clinical trial evaluating SB-509, a zinc finger protein for the treatment of mild to moderate diabetic neuropathy. JDRF will provide up to $3 million toward the study. SB-509 is an engineered protein that acts as a transcription factor, binding directly to DNA and specifically turning up the production of a gene encoding vascular endothelial growth factor—a molecule that has been shown to have direct neuroprotective and neurotrophic effects. Sangamo’s pre-clinical and Phase 1 studies of SB-509 suggest that the therapy may have disease-altering benefits, possibly by directly protecting and restoring nerve function; current treatments only address the pain associated with neuropathy. The Phase 2 trial will evaluate peripheral sensory neuropathy in the legs, a common diabetes complication whose initial symptoms of numbness and tingling in the toes or feet often gradually evolve to a loss of sensation and motor function as nerve damage progresses.