June 2008 eUpdate
DIABETES CENTER RESEARCHER CHALLENGES OLD ADAGE “YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT” Kaveh Ashrafi, PhD and his colleagues including Supriya Srinivasan, PhD generated headlines earlier this month by challenging the theory that weight gain is mostly a consequence of feeding and physical activity. By working with the worm model C. elegans, they found that the brain chemical serotonin influences two separate pathways -- one for feeding and one for fat-burning. Even though the pathways operate in a complementary way, they are not dependent on each other. In other words, the nervous system’s control of appetite and feeding is different than the nervous system’s control of fat metabolism and fat deposition. If these two pathways are also found in humans (highly likely because both species have similar genetics), new drugs can be developed to tackle each channel – helping to ensure successful weight loss. Says Dr. Ashrafi, “Healthy eating habits and physical activity certainly affect weight and have tremendous health benefits, however, fat regulation is critically dependent on whether or not the nervous system directs incoming nutrients to be stored as fats”. More information on Dr. Ashrafi’s “world of worms” can be found in a story published by UCSF Public Affairs [weight watching & worms] A sampling of news stories generated from this discovery can be found at these links: [Med News Today] [Reuters]
EXCITING PROGRESS IN CONVERTING STEM CELLS TO BETA CELLS Earlier this year, San Diego biotech Novocell announced their success in converting human embryonic stem cells into insulin-producing beta cells, stopping type 1 diabetes in immune compromised mice. Even though the company is still a few years off from human clinical trials, the discovery rocked the diabetes world. We at UCSF are proud of our strong ties with Novocell – Drs. Jeffrey Bluestone, Mike German, and Matthias Hebrok all serve on the company’s Scientific Advisory Board. As one of the Advisory Board’s longest serving members, Dr. Hebrok has consulted with Novocell since 2000 and has helped to direct human embryonic stem cell differentiation towards beta cells. Ed Baetge, PhD, Chief Executive Officer at Novocell, is featured on the cover of the June 16 issue of Forbes Magazine. [view article]
HUNTER-GATHERER DIET MAY HELP PREVENT AND TREAT TYPE 2 DIABETES? UCSF endocrinologist Umesh Masharani, MD and his colleagues are examining the effects of a Paleolithic-type diet (lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and nuts) on individuals who are challenged by insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome, and who have type 2 diabetes or are at risk for the disease. They are testing the hypothesis that dietary intervention limiting high fat dairy products, refined grains and legumes will improve glucose control, cholesterol and lipid levels, and lower blood pressure. [more]
PEDIATRIC AND ADULT PATIENT SYMPOSIUM PRESENTATIONS AVAILABLE ONLINE Nearly one thousand people whose lives have been affected by diabetes participated in our recent pediatric and adult symposiums. PEDIATRIC SYMPOSIUM -- In March at our Mission Bay Campus, parents of children with type 1 diabetes spent the day learning about the latest in diabetes while their kids enjoyed our ever popular Kids Kamp, co-sponsored by the Diabetic Youth Foundation (DYF). A number of powerpoint presentations can be found at this link [pediatric] ADULT SYMPOSIUM -- In April at our Laurel Heights Campus, we held our annual adult symposium for both our type 1 and type 2 patients and their family members. Thanks to the efforts of the Diabetes Teaching Center (DTC), all five (5) presentations have been captured on video and can be found at this link [adult] or through the DTC’s new website, Diabetes Education Online (DEO), www.deo.ucsf.edu
Notes and News
CLINICIAN/RESEARCHER AWARDED PRESTIGIOUS JDRF RESEARCH AWARD A UCSF faculty member for over 20 years, Mike German, MD, was awarded the prestigious David Rumbough Award for Scientific Excellence by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). This award was established in 1974 by actress Dina Merrill, in honor of her late son, David. It is the highest honor JDRF awards, and is presented annually to researchers for outstanding achievement and commitment to diabetes research and for their service to JDRF. Dr. German holds the Justine K. Schreyer Endowed Chair in Diabetes Research and is both the Associate Director and Clinical Director of the UCSF Diabetes Center. Understanding the structure and development of pancreatic beta cells is the main focus of Dr. German’s work. Moreover, his pioneering research in stem cells has placed him at the forefront of the effort to cure type 1 diabetes. Also honored by JDRF were Michael Brownlee, MD, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Maike Sander, MD, UC Irvine. Dr. Sander, a UCSF alumna, received the Gerold & Kayla Grodsky Basic Research Scientist Award, an award that was created four decades ago by JDRF and our very own Dr. Gerold Grodsky.
NEW YORK TIMES INTERVIEWS UCSF DIETICIAN, EDUCATOR, AND AUTHOR As the U.S. continues to struggle with its war on weight, Sherri Shafer, RD, CDE continues to spread the word about proper medical nutrition therapy for adults and children with diabetes. Last month, Sherri was interviewed by Peter Jaret, health reporter for the New York Times on “A Nutritional Approach to Managing Diabetes”. Sherri has been a dietitian at UCSF since 1992 and is the author of Diabetes Type 2 Complete Food Management Program (2001, Prima Publishing/Random House). Her book can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble.com and Borders.com. [ view article ]
CHILDHOOD OBESITY: FACULTY MEMBER CONTINUES TO SPEAK OUT Robert Lustig, MD is bombarded by media inquiries on a regular basis. What makes him so popular? Dr. Lustig is UCSF’s childhood obesity expert and a nationally recognized leader in the field of neuroendocrinology, with an emphasis on the regulation of energy balance by the central nervous system. In light of the growing epidemic of type 2 diabetes in children, Dr. Lustig is often asked to share how neural, hormonal and genetic influences contribute to obesity and diabetes. He is quick to point out that research is now showing that it’s not just calories but specific nutrients that are contributing to this epidemic. Besides being courted by the media, Dr. Lustig often travels to Capitol Hill to lobby Congress on important issues of the day involving diabetes and obesity. Back in March, Dr. Lustig met with Members of Congress, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Health & Human Services (HHS) to encourage the overhaul of the Food Pyramid. A sampling of news stories that have quoted Dr. Lustig can be found at these links: [Time] [LA Times] [US News] [Business Week] [ABC News] [ABC Australia] [CNN Money]
DIABETES CENTER HONORS ITS LEGENDS AT THE ADA SCIENTIFIC SESSIONS Earlier this month, 20,000 diabetes researchers and medical professionals converged on our “City by the Bay” to attend the ADA’s 68th Annual Scientific Sessions. As host city, we were glad we arranged spectacular weather! Not only were our faculty and staff well represented at the seminars and workshops, we hosted a special event for former alumni and friends of the Diabetes Center. Hosted by Leadership Council Member Chara Schreyer at the Four Seasons, we honored two pillars of our diabetes community with UCSF Lifetime Recognition Awards -- Gerold Grodsky, PhD and Peggy Huang, RN, CDE. Thanks to Chara and Leadership Council Members Will Weinstein and Tony Price for their participation in this very special program.
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: HOKT3Y1(Ala-Ala)/Anti-CD3 Intervention Study Seeking volunteers, 8 to 30 years of age, within 12 months of diagnosis [ 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 1 Diabetes: Oral Insulin Preventative Study Seeking relatives of people with type 1 diabetes from age 3 to age 45 [ 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: Alpha Lipoic Acid and Insulin Resistance Seeking volunteers 20 to 60 years of age [ 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.