Feroz Papa, MD PhD is intrigued by shapes – specifically how proteins are folded into the distinctly shaped structures that allow them to perform highly specific tasks. If proteins unfold in cells, they can aggregate and cause these cells to become damaged. Unfortunately, it appears that insulin-producing beta cells can be very easily damaged through the aggregation of unfolded proteins.
In a recent study reported and published last month in the Journal of Experimental Medicine by UCSF investigators Brian Fife, Ph.D. and Jeff Bluestone, Ph.D., it has been shown that insulin itself is a contributing factor in the progression of type 1 diabetes and to prevent the disease, we must selectively target the insulin-specific, autoimmune T cells.
Dr. Michael German, Diabetes Center researcher and clinician, was just named to the AAP, a non-profit professional organization founded in 1885 for “the advancement of scientific and practical medicine.” Membership is limited to the “elite” among the nation’s physician-scientist community and is predicated on a long history of outstanding research achievement. Last year, Dr. German was appointed to the Justine K. Schreyer Endowed Chair in Diabetes Research.
Researchers have begun a clinical study of oral insulin to prevent or delay type 1 diabetes in at-risk people, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced today. Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet, an NIH-funded network of researchers dedicated to the understanding, prevention, and early treatment of type 1 diabetes, is conducting the study in more than 100 medical centers across the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia.
If T cells fail to recognize just one of the body's thousands of proteins as “self”, it can trigger autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes. The Diabetes Center 's Mark Anderson, MD PhD is the senior investigator of a paper published last month in the Journal of Experimental Medicine. [story]
UCSF diabetes clinical nurse specialist Mary Sullivan is quoted in this story on how specially trained dogs can pick up the scent of low blood sugars, as reported in the San Francisco Chronicle.
John Baxter, MD and Paul Webb, PhD are focused on studying the thyroid hormone which regulates overall metabolic rate, heart function and cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Elevated levels of the thyroid hormone leads to increases in metabolic rate and associated rapid weight loss, and also improves cholesterol and triglyceride balance – yet may also produce increased heart rate and arrhythmias.
CIRM, the voter-established institute created by Prop 71, awarded $12.1 million in grants to cover the first year of three-year training fellowships. UCSF received 16 grants totaling just over $1.1 million. The number of applications received was sizeable, as reported by the San Francisco Business Times.
Dr. Michael German has been appointed to this new chair, which was generously funded through donations from long-time UCSF volunteer leader, Chara Schreyer and her Kadima Foundation.
April's issue of Journal of Clinical Investigation reported that UCSF’s Dr. Jeffrey Bluestone and his collaborators Matthias von Herrath and Damien Bresson at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology and Kevan Herold of Columbia University have successfully used a new treatment approach to reverse recent onset type 1 diabetes in laboratory animals.
Therapeutic cures for diabetes may eventually range from regeneration techniques in which islets are produced endogenously, to interventions like the transplantation of islets from donors, animal sources, or engineered sources such as liver or stem cells. Regardless of the technique to replace beta cell mass, therapies won’t result in true cures without the ability to induce tolerance. In type 1 diabetes, there can be several layers of tolerance that need to be in place.
Two UCSF faculty scientists have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the academy announced on April 24, 2006. Jeffrey A. Bluestone, PhD, director of the UCSF Diabetes Center, and Robert W. Mahley, MD, PhD, president of the UCSF-affiliated J. David Gladstone Institutes, were among 175 new fellows elected to the academy, which includes among its members prominent scientists, scholars, artists, business leaders and public policy experts.
Christian Vaisse, MD, PhD, studies weighty matters - the genetics of obesity. He has identified a mutated gene that is responsible for extreme obesity, at least in a rare and unfortunate few. Moreover, Vaisse, an endocrinologist and associate professor with the Diabetes Center at UCSF, has recently made a patentable discovery that may one day lead to new drug treatments. So, given his success, you might expect Vaisse to be overly optimistic about genetic fixes for fat. He's not.