November 2009 eUpdate
November 13, 2009
Novocell and UCSF Receive CIRM Disease Team Award
Last month, the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) awarded a Diabetes Disease Team Award to Novocell, Inc., a San Diego-based stem cell engineering biotech, and the UCSF Diabetes Center, led by Jeffrey Bluestone, PhD, Michael German, MD, Matthias Hebrok, PhD, and Qizhi Tang, PhD. Called the "dream team" by CIRM working group reviewers, this group's goal is to encapsulate islet progenitor cells generated from human embryonic stem cells in a durable, retrievable device and implant them into patients. If successful, a Phase 1 safety trial in patients with type 1 diabetes could begin in 3-4 years. [ New York Times ] [ UCSF Public Affairs ] CIRM was established five years ago this month when Proposition 71, the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Act, was passed by California voters. CIRM funds are also being used to build UCSF's state-of-the-art, 75,000 sq. ft. stem cell research facility. In September, UCSF officials topped off the new building by placing the final structural steel beam. A number of UCSF diabetes researchers are expected to move into this building in September 2010. [ San Francisco Business Times ]
Powerful Imaging Technology Helps to Uncover Important Interaction Involved in Tolerance
The body's immune system is supposed to "tolerate" itself and distinguish "self" from "non-self." Autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes result from the breakdown of this system, causing immune cells to attack and destroy insulin-producing beta cells or "self." In the November issue of Nature Immunology, Brian Fife, PhD and collaborators including senior author Jeffrey Bluestone, PhD share how they have uncovered a basic process that helps control immune cell activation and tolerance. By utilizing two-photon laser-scanner microscopy to look at individual immune cells in a mouse model of type 1 diabetes, they discovered that when a molecule found on the immune cell called Programmed death 1 (PD-1) binds to another molecule found on another cell, PD-L1, the cells are prevented from forming stable interactions and have increased movement. These fast-moving cells interact less with the cells in the pancreas, thereby preventing type 1 diabetes. The team hopes that this research will help in the development of a new generation of tolerogenic drugs that will "turn off" selected parts of the immune system, leaving the disease-fighting capabilities intact. A UCSF postdoctoral fellow for six years, Dr. Fife is now a faculty member with the University of Minnesota's Center for Immunology. [ Nature Immunology ]
Islet Transplant Recipient Shares Life-Changing Experience
After living with type 1 diabetes for 33 years, Ken Reynolds feels like a new person with a much better quality of life -- thanks to an islet transplant he received at UCSF last January. Diagnosed with diabetes as a child, Ken began to experience severe hypoglycemic unawareness ten years ago. After a few car accidents and low blood sugar emergencies at home and work, Ken decided he needed to do something. Through the internet he learned about the UCSF Pancreatic Islet Transplantation Program . When he first contacted UCSF, Ken was told he was a good candidate for islet transplantation due to his hypoglycemic unawareness issues and his absence of kidney disease, but he weighed approximately ten pounds too much and his insulin requirement was a little high. With islet coordinator Debbie Ramos' help, he enrolled in a refresher diabetes course and learned to count carbohydrates. Once he lost the weight, Ken's insulin requirement decreased and he was enrolled in the study and underwent further testing. Within a few months of being approved, Ken received his islets in a well-tolerated, minimally invasive procedure he remembers as painless. One week later, he was back to work. One month later, Ken stopped taking insulin and hasn't seen a blood sugar over 155. Ken believes he has done well because of the excellent care he received from his surgeon, Andy Posselt, MD, PhD , study principal investigator, Peter Stock, MD, PhD , and the entire transplant team -- and because he believes in the power of positive thinking. Ken convinced himself that he would provide these cadaver islets with a good home and, in turn, they wouldn't let him down. He frequently uses the words "free" and "freedom" to describe his new life and encourages others to consider islet transplantation if they are challenged by their diabetes management. Ken's story is so compelling that he was recently featured in a CBS 5 News Report. If you or a loved one have type 1 diabetes and have experienced poor glucose control despite intensive insulin therapy, please learn more about the islet transplantation studies that may be available to you: 415-353-8893; firstname.lastname@example.org
Study Shows Diabetes Education Lowers Healthcare Costs
A new study, Assessing the Value of Diabetes Education , has shown that healthcare costs for the serious consequences of diabetes are significantly lower for people who have been referred to a diabetes education program. For individuals with diabetes who are seen by diabetes educators, their healthcare costs are lower --largely due to their reduced need to be treated in an inpatient hospital setting. For the medical professionals involved in the UCSF Diabetes Teaching Center including Medical Director Martha Nolte Kennedy, MD , these study results are not surprising. The Diabetes Teaching Center has been providing quality diabetes education for over 30 years and has recently launched an online diabetes self-management education program called Diabetes Education Online (DEO). Why not contact the Diabetes Teaching Center and see how they can help you feel better and avoid serious and costly complications? [ Contact Info ] [Class Schedule ]
NOTES AND NEWS
Bringing Diabetes to Light on World Diabetes Day
On November 14th, buildings around the world will turn blue in support of World Diabetes Day -- a global and local community effort focused on preventing, treating and caring for those with with diabetes. In Sacramento, the Governor and State Legislature will light the Capitol Building in blue at 5:30 p.m. Dean Schillinger, MD, Director of the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations and Chief of the California Diabetes Program , is a featured speaker. In San Francisco, the Ferry Building will turn blue from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. Make your own plans to observe World Diabetes Day!
SFGH Diabetes Team Receives Awards
The UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations (CVP) at San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH) continues to receive recognition for its innovative research that advances health communication to prevent and treat chronic diseases in patients at risk. Last month, Dean Schillinger, MD received the "14th Annual George Engel Award for Outstanding Research Contributing to the Theory, Practice and Teaching of Effective Health Care Communication and Related Skills" at the International Conference in Communication in Healthcare in Miami Beach, Florida. [ UCSF Today ] Next month at the annual conference of the California Association of Public Hospitals & Health Systems (CAPH) and the California Health Care Safety Net Institute (SNI), Dr. Schillinger and his team will receive a "2009 Top Honors Award" for their Automated Telephone Self-Management Support Model for Diabetes. [ CAPH/SNI ] Founded in 2006, the CVP's mission is to carry out innovative research to prevent and treat chronic disease in populations for whom social conditions often conspire to both promote chronic disease and make its management more challenging. CVP is nationally and internationally known for its research in health communication and health policy to reduce health disparities.
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: GAD Study Seeking volunteers, 16 to 45 years of age, within 3 months of diagnosis
Type 1 Diabetes: HOKT3Y1 (ALA-ALA - ANTI-CD3) Study Seeking volunteers, 8 to 30 years of age, within 12 months of diagnosis
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
Non-Diabetes: Alpha Lipoic Acid and Insulin Resistance Seeking volunteers 20 to 60 years of age
Non-Diabetes: Chromium and Insulin Resistance Seeking volunteers 20 to 50 years of age, not exercising regularly, and of normal body weight
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; email@example.com You may also visit our donation website and designate your gift to “The Diabetes Center."
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