December 2012 eUpdate
Coaxing Human Stem Cells into Insulin-Producing Beta Cells
Center Director Matthias Hebrok, PhD, and his lab colleagues have optimized existing culture conditions to increase the number of pancreas progenitor cells and insulin-producing cells from human stem cells. Their current studies indicate that they are getting closer to generating functional beta cells for transplantation purposes.
To create effective cell therapy treatments for type 1 diabetes patients, a renewable source of insulin-producing beta cells must be created. Human stem cells offer one of the best opportunities to generate these new beta cells.
While tremendous advances have been made over the past several years, not all of the signals that regulate the development of beta cells from stem cells have been identified. This past year, the Hebrok Lab successfully identified another set of signals that guide and promote pancreas cell types to form beta cells, and also provide valuable information on the timing of the signaling events critical for this beta cell formation.
Stopping the Inflammatory Response in Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes Center investigator Suneil Koliwad, MD, PhD, is exploring how nutritional factors may stimulate tissue inflammation and increase the risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Dr. Koliwad’s research was recently highlighted at the 2012 American Diabetes Association's Scientific Sessions where he gave a talk on current issues in diabetes research.
Based on an original new idea in his lab to explore factors regulating the vulnerability of immune cells to pro-inflammatory fats, Suneil received an inaugural UCSF Diabetes Center-Sponsored Obesity Research Center Grant entitled, “Modulation of Triacylglycerol Storage and Breakdown: Tools to Control Fatty Acid-Stimulated Inflammation in Diet-Induced Obesity.”
As President of the San Francisco Community Leadership Board of the American Diabetes Association, Suneil has worked tirelessly to further the ADA’s efforts to prevent diabetes locally and to improve the lives of people with diabetes in the Bay Area. Not only did he speak at World Diabetes Day in San Francisco on November 14, he was videotaped at the ADA Leadership Conference in New Orleans.
Study Challenges Chromium Therapy for the Treatment of Insulin Resistance
UCSF endocrinologist Umesh Masharani and his colleagues have dispelled a commonly held belief that chromium supplements improve insulin sensitivity and help prevent and treat diabetes.
Through a 16 week, double blind placebo-controlled clinical trial of chromium picolinate therapy conducted on 31 non-obese subjects with normal blood sugar, there was no significant change in insulin sensitivity between groups. And, paradoxically, subjects who had the highest chromium levels in their blood had a decline in insulin sensitivity.
It is estimated that over 10 million Americans take chromium supplements to improve insulin action and glucose tolerance, at a cost of $150 million dollars per year. Recently published in the journal BMC Endocrine Disorders, Dr. Masharani’s research suggests that caution should be exercised in recommending the use of this supplement for diabetes prevention and blood sugar control.
Holiday Greetings from our Center Director
As another year concludes, I continue to feel enormous pride for all that we have accomplished. It is only because of you – our supporters and donors – that we have been successful in creating one of the most respected diabetes research and clinical centers in the world.
As we continue on our path to create new, more effective treatments for type 1 and type 2 diabetes, I remain grateful for our ongoing partnership.
On behalf of our dedicated team of faculty and staff, I wish you and your loved ones a joyous holiday season, and a healthy and happy New Year.
Matthias Hebrok, PhD
Director, Diabetes Center at UCSF
Hurlbut-Johnson Distinguished Professor in Diabetes Research
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 is listed below.
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: Anti-CD3 mAB (Teplizumab) Preventative Study Seeking relatives of people with type 1 diabetes, 8 to 45 years of age
Type 1 Diabetes: Evaluation of Residual Beta Cell Function and Immunologic Features in Patients with Longstanding Type 1 Diabetes Seeking volunteers 8 years or older who have had type 1 diabetes for five or more years and have a hemoglobin A1c < 9.5%
Type 2 Diabetes: Paleolithic-Type Diets and Metabolic Control Seeking volunteers 18 years of age and older with type 2 diabetes
Non-Diabetes: Motivational Physical Activity Education Study (mPED) Women between 25 and 69 years of age
Non-Diabetes: A Mobile Phone Based Diabetes Prevention Program (mDPP) Over 35 years of age, overweight, not physically active
APS1 and Autoimmune Disease Seeking volunteers at least 6 weeks of age 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 webpage and/or designate your donation to the program of your choice.
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