June 2010 eUpdate
NIH Bestows DERC Distinction for Diabetes Center
Once again, the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive & Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) has designated the UCSF Diabetes Center as a Diabetes Endocrinology Research Center (DERC), one of only 10 programs nationally to hold this prestigious rank.
The DERC designation recognizes the high quality of the UCSF diabetes research program. It is a multidisciplinary award that brings together researchers and clinicians involved in endocrinology, metabolism, nutrition, human genetics, immunology, and molecular and cell biology.
Congratulations to Michael German, MD and Fred Schaufele, PhD for their efforts in securing this important research program for the Diabetes Center.
Treg Human Clinical Trials Focused on Balancing the Immune System
Thanks to UCSF immunologists including Jeff Bluestone, PhD and Todd Brusko, PhD, a paradigm shift in thinking has occurred regarding the immune system’s role in type 1 diabetes. Previously, the goal was to suppress the immune system so insulin-producing beta cells weren’t destroyed. It is now believed that beta cell destruction occurs because of an imbalance in the immune system. This imbalance occurs when uncontrolled, autoreactive effector T cells (Teff) outnumber the protective regulatory T cells (Tregs) – cells that are involved in helping the body to suppress immune responses, inflammation and tissue destruction plus “tolerate” its own cells. [ Immunological Reviews journal abstract ]
The Bluestone Lab has rapidly advanced research on the beneficial effect of increasing the numbers of Tregs to correct the immune imbalance -- to stop beta cell destruction and to possibly reverse disease. After a few years of successfully isolating and expanding Tregs in animal models, the team expects to launch the first human clinical trials utilizing an individual’s own Tregs for treating type 1 diabetes and autoimmunity.
Amy Putnam, a staff research associate in the Bluestone Lab, has created the optimal expansion protocol based on culturing highly purified Tregs with anti-CD3/anti-CD28 coated microbeads and IL-2. Tregs, defined as CD4+ CD127lo/-CD25+, can be expanded an average of 1,500-fold over a two-week period while retaining high levels of FOXP3 – a transcription factor required for proper development and function of Tregs. By infusing expanded, “personalized” Tregs back into the patient, it is hoped that the immune system will be back in balance, beta cell destruction will discontinue, and type 1 diabetes may even be reversed. [ Diabetes journal article ]
Even though the team is excited to launch their first human clinical trials, they are looking to the future as well. They hope to create “designer” antigen-specific Tregs capable of recognizing diabetes autoantigens at the site of the inflammatory attack, in order to stop beta cell destruction. [ PNAS journal abstract ]
Dramatic Health Improvements Seen In Hunter-Gatherer Diet Study
Even though dietary research projects are expensive to conduct, two physician researchers are pooling all of their resources to study the health benefits of following the Paleolithic or hunter-gatherer diet enjoyed by our ancestors.
Studies already conducted by Diabetes Center endocrinologist Umesh Masharani, MD and kidney specialist Lynda Frassetto, MD have shown that a diet composed of “unprocessed” foods such as lean meat, fresh fruits and vegetables and raw nuts will quickly lower cholesterol and improve blood sugar and blood pressure levels, without the need for weight loss. Drs. Masharani and Frassetto hope that their non-agricultural, non-processed food diet may lead to an effective, non-drug treatment for type 2 diabetes and related disorders.
This Saturday -- Two Educational Programs for the Diabetes Community
Do you and your loved ones wish to learn more about diabetes? This year's UCSF Diabetes Teaching Center’s Patient Symposium is scheduled for this Saturday, June 5, 2010, 7:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., at Genentech Hall on the UCSF Mission Bay Campus in San Francisco. Presentations include: Coping and Burnout; Top Questions for the Dietitian; The Truth Behind the Headlines; The Cure: How Close Are We?; and What You Need to Know About Preparing for Procedures . [ Flyer, Agenda, Registration Form, Map & Directions ] For more information, contact Marina Demetsky .
Also this Saturday, June 5 from 1 - 4 p.m., the Greater Bay Area Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) is holding their Annual Research Symposium at the St. Regis Hotel in San Francisco. Our UCSF clinical researchers and study coordinators will be talking about our latest clinical trials during the Reception & Exhibition from 1 - 2 p.m. Research presentations will begin at 2 p.m. For more information, contact Caroline Kinsey.
“Sugar” Goes Viral
UCSF pediatric endocrinologist and childhood obesity advocate and policy wonk Robert Lustig, MD is always willing to state his mind when it comes to sugar. Apparently people are listening. Ever since one of his local lectures entitled Sugar: The Bitter Truth was posted to YouTube last July, nearly 500,000 people have viewed this 90 minute video. The resonant chord Lustig struck led to an appearance on ABC News Nightline in March.
Dr. Lustig, Director of the UCSF Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health (WATCH) Clinic , recently published in Nature Reviews that fructose is a primary determinant of many chronic metabolic diseases affecting this generation — not only type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and the metabolic syndrome – but also chronic kidney disease and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (the most common liver disease worldwide). Because fructose is toxic in large quantities and is metabolized in the liver, it causes the same type of liver damage as does alcohol. It also alters brain signaling of satiety and reward, and stimulates appetite in an almost addictive manner, causing greater food consumption, and perpetuating a “vicious cycle” of consumption and disease. [ NBC ] [SF Gate ] Lustig and colleagues recently received an NIH grant to study the role of fructose restriction in disease prevention in children.
Fructose is a component of the two most popular added sugars: sucrose or table sugar, and high-fructose corn syrup, found in abundance in soft drinks and processed foods. Before 1900, Americans consumed approximately 15 grams of fructose per day (4% of total calories). Today, adolescents consume nearly 75 grams per day (roughly 12% of total calories). To win this dangerous battle against fructose, Dr. Lustig is convinced that education is not enough, but rather that aggressive public policy solutions will be required to help regulate added sugars in food products.
NOTES AND NEWS
Diabetes Center Celebrates 10th Anniversary
For nearly eighty years, UCSF researchers and clinicians have been making breakthrough discoveries that have improved diabetes treatment and care for individuals with diabetes and their families. Ten years ago, a new, comprehensive Diabetes Center was created that united the research, clinical care and education aspects of diabetes to more rapidly improve the quality of life of those living with diabetes. In these past ten years, we’ve accelerated our basic research efforts and have aggressively pursued promising clinical research to help generate new treatments for this disease.
To recognize our worldwide partnership of researchers, clinicians, collaborators, supporters, and donors, we are holding our 10th Anniversary Celebration on September 24 and 25, 2010 on our Parnassus Campus in San Francisco.
For clinicians and researchers, we invite you to attend our 10th Anniversary Scientific Symposium on Friday 9/24 at Cole Hall, UCSF Medical School. [ Scientific Symposium Program Agenda and Speakers ]
For pediatric families, we invite you to attend our Pediatric Diabetes Family Fun Day & Educational Program on Saturday 9/25 at Saunders Court, Parnassus Campus. [ Family Fun Day Planned Activities ]
For more information or to RSVP for either event, contact Lorraine Stiehl.
Prestigious Physician-Scientist Award Presented
Diabetes Center researcher and San Francisco General Hospital endocrinologist Feroz Papa, MD, PhD has been elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI). This is one of the nation’s oldest and most respected medical honor societies that pays tribute to young physician-scientists.
Since 1908, over 2,800 physician-scientists have been elected to the Society for their outstanding records of scholarly achievement in biomedical research. Because members must be 45 years of age or younger at the time of their election, membership reflects accomplishments by its members relatively early in their careers. Dr. Papa's current research is focused on preventing the death of stressed cells, a mechanism that is thought to underlie diseases such as type 2 diabetes.
UCSF Given Top Rating in Diabetes & Endocrine Disorders
Once again, U.S. News & World Report named UCSF fourth in the country in treating diabetes and endocrine disorders. More than 1,000 hospitals were surveyed in this annual "Best Hospitals" publication. Thanks to our faculty and staff who give tirelessly of themselves to improve the quality of life for others.
The Diabetes Center at UCSF is among the premier institutions for clinical trials of emerging therapies in diabetes. Numerous clinical trials in type 1 and 2 diabetes are now underway.
Interested in participating? A sample of our trials currently enrolling patients:
Type 1 Diabetes: TrialNet Natural History Study [Antibody Screening] Seeking relatives of people with type 1 diabetes, 1 to 45 years of age
Type 1 Diabetes: An Oral Insulin Preventative Study Seeking relatives of people with type 1 diabetes, 3 to 45 years of age
Type 1 Diabetes: Islet Transplantation with Belatacept Seeking volunteers 18 and older, with type 1 diabetes and weighing less than 175 lbs
Type 2 Diabetes: Paleolithic-Type Diets and Metabolic Control Seeking volunteers 18 years of age and older with type 2 diabetes
Bone Study for Postmenopausal Women With or Without Type 2 Diabetes Seeking volunteers between 50 and 75 years old
APS1 and Autoimmune Disease Seeking volunteers at least 6 years old and weighing over 40 pounds who have either autoimmune disease, have evidence of autoimmunity, have a family member with autoimmunity, or do not have autoimmune disease (healthy volunteer control)
Diabetes Center at UCSF
If you wish to receive more information about the UCSF Diabetes Center’s clinical and research programs, or would like to financially support one or more of these efforts, please contact Suzanne Ritchie at 415-476-6334. You may also visit our donation website and designate your gift to “The Diabetes Center."
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