November 2008 eUpdate
DIABETES REVERSED IN MOUSE MODEL Last week, UCSF researchers published a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) that showed that two common cancer drugs can reverse type 1 diabetes at the time of onset in a diabetic mouse model. According to Dr. Jeffrey Bluestone and colleagues, the drugs – imatinib (marketed as Gleevec) and sunitinib (marketed as Sutent) – were found to put type 1 diabetes into remission in 80 percent of the test mice and work permanently in 80 percent of those that go into remission. While it is promising that these two cancer drugs could be of benefit in type 1 diabetes, it is important that they be thoroughly tested by conducting human clinical trials. These trials have been planned but are not yet approved. [ media release ] [ journal article ]
RESEARCHERS RECEIVE THE NEUROPATHY ASSOCIATION’S SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH GRANT AWARD The Neuropathy Association – whose mission is to provide patient support and education, facilitate information exchange, advocate for patients’ interests and, most importantly, support neuropathy research – recently awarded a research grant to Helene Bour-Jordan, PhD and Mark Anderson, MD, PhD for their research, “Identification of Neural Autoantigens in Autoimmume Peripheral Neuropathy ”. Peripheral neuropathy is one of the most common diseases, affecting upwards of 20 million Americans. It results from injury to the peripheral nerves, disrupting the body's ability to communicate with its muscles, organs and tissues. Interestingly, one third of all neuropathy patients have diabetes, and in the entire diabetic population, more than 50 percent will develop some form of diabetic neuropathy. [ media release ] [Neuropathy Association]
JDRF NETWORK GRANT AWARDED Jeff Bluestone PhD, Mike German MD, and Matthias Hebrok PhD were recently awarded a three year JDRF Network Grant to explore Human Embryonic Stem Cell Source for Beta Cell Replacement. Working with Ed Baetge PhD at the stem cell engineering company Novocell in San Diego, this team will perform basic, translational, and pre-clinical research on beta cell/islet development in mice with type 1 diabetes. Ultimately, they hope their research translates into safe and effective therapies for treating type 1 diabetes in humans.
IACOCCA FOUNDATION FUNDS EMBRYONIC STEM CELL THERAPIES -- WITHOUT THE EMBRYOS In recent breakthroughs, researchers have developed a process for reprogramming fully grown adult cells back into something akin to embryonic stem cells, called induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells. Building on that technology, Matthias Hebrok, PhD aims to take these iPS cells and coax them into mature, insulin-secreting pancreatic beta cells. The hope is to one day replace a patient’s damaged beta cells with fully functional new ones generated from cells from their own body, thus avoiding the potential for transplant rejection. Recently, a two-year grant from the Iacocca Foundation, which was started by Lee Iacocca in 1984 after losing his wife, Mary, to complications from type 1 diabetes, was awarded to support efforts of a postdoctoral fellow to conduct research on iPS cells in Dr. Hebrok’s laboratory. [ Iacocca Foundation ]
THOUSANDS WITH DIABETES HELPED BY NEW EDUCATIONAL WEBSITE A new educational resource for diabetes is now available on the Internet, thanks to the UCSF Diabetes Teaching Center (DTC). Since it was launched in July 2008, thousands of families have visited the site. DTC Medical Director Martha Nolte Kennedy, MD and her staff are pleased that this website is providing diabetes education and self-management skills to the growing numbers worldwide who have limited access to diabetes specialists. We deeply appreciate the following Bay Area individuals and foundations who underwrote this project: The Joseph Drown Foundation, Robert and Michelle Friend, The Koret Foundation, The Bernard Osher Foundation, Elana Weinstein, and Will Weinstein. Their visionary support is helping to make a difference in the lives of individuals living with diabetes and their loved ones. [view website] [ media release ]
Notes & News
CALIFORNIA COURT ISSUES RULING INVOLVING DIABETES CARE IN THE SCHOOLS On Friday, November 13, a California Superior Court Judge ruled against a provision of an agreement between the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the California Department of Education that would ensure students are provided appropriate care in the classroom. According to the ruling, school personnel who are not nurses but who volunteer to help students with diabetes and are trained to do so will be prevented from administering insulin. With California’s school nurse to student ratio being one of the highest in the nation (one nurse per every 2,700 students), this ruling is expected to challenge the state’s 15,000 children with diabetes and their families. [ Sacramento Bee Story ] [LA Times Story] [ DREDF ] [ ADA ]
HANAHAN ELECTED TO INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE Last month, Doug Hanahan, PhD was elected to the prestigious Institute of Medicine (IOM), an organization that serves as adviser to the nation to improve health. Established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, the IOM provides independent, objective, evidence-based advice to policymakers, health professionals, the private sector, and the public. Dr. Hanahan is a member of both the UCSF Diabetes Center and the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. [ media release ]
EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING AWARD PRESENTED TO ANDERSON Each year, the Haile T. Debas Academy of Medical Educators recognizes outstanding teachers at UCSF. These peer-nominated awards are intended to highlight outstanding front-line teachers of medical students and residents -- who might otherwise go unrecognized. We congratulate Mark Anderson, MD, PhD who was presented a 2008 Excellence in Teaching Award. [ more ]
PODCAST AVAILABLE – REGENERATING CELLS TO TREAT DIABETES Listen to the podcast of UCSF Science Cafe’s interview with Dr. Matthias Hebrok. Dr. Hebrok discusses his research involving beta cell regeneration. [ podcast ]
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 to find out if these family members are at risk for developing diabetes [ more ]
Type 1 Diabetes: Islet Transplantation with Raptiva Seeking volunteers 18 and older, with type 1 diabetes and weighing less than 175 lbs [ more ]
Type 1 Diabetes: Teplizumab (HOKT3y1 (Ala-Ala)) [Protégé Study] Seeking volunteers, 16 to 35 years of age, within 12 weeks of diagnosis [ more ]
Type 2 Diabetes: Paleolithic-Type Diets and Metabolic Control Seeking volunteers 18 years of age and older with type 2 diabetes [ more ]
Non-Diabetics: Chromium and Insulin Resistance Seeking volunteers 20 to 50 years of age, not exercising regularly, and of normal body weight [ more ]
For more opportunities, visit the Clinical Trials section of our website , or contact Kathleen Fraser, our Clinical Trials Recruitment Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.