April 2007 eUpdate
Basic research study creates new treatment protocol to “re-educate” immune system and prevent beta cell destruction
In a recent study reported and published last month in the Journal of Experimental Medicine by UCSF investigators Brian Fife, Ph.D. and Jeff Bluestone, Ph.D., it has been shown that insulin itself is a contributing factor in the progression of type 1 diabetes and to prevent the disease, we must selectively target the insulin-specific, autoimmune T cells. By creating a powerful treatment protocol to target these insulin-specific cells in an animal model of diabetes, these researchers were able to “re-educate” the immune system, helping to restore a state of self-tolerance and preventing further beta cell destruction. [more]
Possible cause of type 2 diabetes being studied by UCSF QB3 researcher/clinician
Feroz Papa, MD PhD is intrigued by shapes – specifically how proteins are folded into the distinctly shaped structures that allow them to perform highly specific tasks. If proteins unfold in cells, they can aggregate and cause these cells to become damaged. Unfortunately, it appears that insulin-producing beta cells can be very easily damaged through the aggregation of unfolded proteins. By regulating a cellular defense mechanism called the unfolded protein response (UPR), Dr. Papa hopes to stop the beta cell damage you often find in type 2 diabetes. How is Dr. Papa learning how to regulate the UPR? He and his colleagues are sending more than 150,000 compounds through a sophisticated screening test that was created in Dr. Papa’s lab. From this massive list of compounds, they hope to identify an estimated few dozen compounds having the desired biological effect of adjusting UPR – and ultimately help to discover new drugs to treat type 2 diabetes. Besides being an accomplished researcher at the California Institute for Quantitative Biomedical Research (QB3) on UCSF’s Mission Bay campus, Dr. Papa is also a clinician who sees patients with diabetes at SF General Hospital. [more about Feroz Papa]
NEWS & NOTES
Hebrok Appointed To Hurlbut-Johnson Endowed Chair in Diabetes Research
Diabetes Center researcher Matthias Hebrok, PhD was recently appointed to this newly established Endowed Chair, a well-deserved recognition of the ongoing contributions Dr. Hebrok has made to the field of diabetes research. The Chair is funded with a gift from the Hurlbut-Johnson Charitable Trust of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Throughout his career, his colleagues and peers in the scientific community, as well as his post-doctoral fellows and students, have all recognized Dr. Hebrok as a leader in his field and a skilled teacher and mentor. [more about Matthias Hebrok]
Mike German Elected to 2007 Association of American Physicians
Dr. Michael German, Diabetes Center researcher and clinician, was just named to the AAP, a non-profit professional organization founded in 1885 for “the advancement of scientific and practical medicine.” Membership is limited to the “elite” among the nation’s physician-scientist community and is predicated on a long history of outstanding research achievement. Last year, Dr. German was appointed to the Justine K. Schreyer Endowed Chair in Diabetes Research. [more about Mike German]
UCSF Pediatric Diabetes Symposium Attracts Record Crowd
Nearly 450 parents and their children attended the UCSF Pediatric Diabetes Symposium & Kids Kamp on Saturday, March 3rd at the new UCSF Mission Bay Community Center. As parents attended lectures and workshops presented by clinicians, researchers, and noted authors, their children were entertained at Kids Kamp – supported by the Diabetic Youth Foundation. Select powerpoint presentations from the symposium can be found on the UCSF Diabetes Center’s website.
Adult Diabetes Symposium Scheduled for Saturday, April 21st
On April 21st at Laurel Heights Campus from 7:45 am until 12:30 pm, the UCSF Diabetes Teaching Center is holding their Annual Patient Symposium at the UCSF Laurel Heights Campus (3333 California Street, San Francisco.) Pre-registration is required. The cost for the program is $25 per person or $35 per family of two and includes a continental breakfast, syllabus, and parking. For more information, call Marina Demetsky at 415-353-2266 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. [More info]
CLINICAL TRIAL NEWS
Interested in clinical trials of type 1 or type 2 diabetes? The Diabetes Center at UCSF is among the premier institutions for clinical trials of emerging therapies in diabetes. No less than ten clinical trials are now underway! Visit the Clinical Trials section of our website for more information, or contact Kathleen Fraser, our Clinical Trials Recruitment Coordinator at email@example.com.