The research group of Diabetes Center Director Matthias Hebrok, PhD, and collaborators at Texas A&M University, discovered that mesenchymal fetal tissue plays a fundamental role in the formation of insulin-producing beta cells. In lab animals, they found that the mesenchyme secretes chemicals that multiply and expand cells that are slated to become both hormone producing cells and beta cells.
Nearly a century has passed since the discovery of injectable insulin in the 1920s turned the tide on diabetes, helping to save countless lives. Today, even as research into the disease proceeds apace, the diabetes epidemic continues to grow. In California alone, an estimated 4 million people (one out of every seven adults) have diabetes, and the disease costs the U.S. health care system more than $200 billion annually.
In recognition of UCSF pediatrician and diabetologist Dr. Saleh Adi and his vision, passion and extraordinary skills in helping children with diabetes, an anonymous couple has made a transformational $10 million gift to help launch and operate the “best pediatric diabetes clinic on the west coast.”
Each year, California has more new cases of diabetes than any other state in the nation. Of the 4 million Californians with diabetes (1 in 7 adults), approximately 1.4 million are undiagnosed and unaware they have the disease. Additionally, it is estimated that 11.1 million Californians have prediabetes, a condition that increases risk for developing type 2 diabetes within 10 years.
It is with great sadness that we announce that our friend and colleague, John Baxter, MD, passed away on October 5th. Prior to his move to Methodist Hospital in Houston, John had been a member of the UCSF faculty for more than 30 years. He was the former Chief of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism and Director of the Metabolic Research Unit, the forerunner of the present Diabetes Center.
The Diabetes Teaching Center is proud to announce their new educational mobile app, Diabetes IQ. DiabetesIQ was created by the collaborative efforts of the University of San Francisco Diabetes Teaching Center and QuantiaMD. The mobile application, available for iOS and Android platforms, is an innovative new way for patients to explore their knowledge of the forms, progression, treatment, and complications of diabetes.
UCSF is a proud sponsor of the California Diabetes Summit, the only statewide public health conference that brings together California's preeminent diabetes prevention and control professionals, as well as leaders in policy, systems change, environmental approaches, health communications and health systems. Speakers include faculty members Dean Schillinger, MD, and Robert Lustig, MD. For more information, email
Thanks to the ongoing generosity of a very special family, the Joseph and Vera Long Foundation recently endowed the Vera M. Long Outstanding Diabetes Scientist Post-Doctoral Fellowship. The foundation stipulated that the fellowship recipient have an exceptional academic record, potential for scientific advancement and demonstrated interest in promoting the advancement of women in science.
For relatives of people with type 1 diabetes who are not yet diagnosed, but who are at risk for type 1 diabetes, there are now promising clinical trials available. UCSF Pediatric Diabetes Program director Steve Gitelman, MD, suggests that all family members take a simple blood test which screens for the presence of diabetes-related autoantibodies that may appear years before type 1 diabetes develops.
We are pleased to report that the National Institutes of Health awarded Northern California's Kaiser Permanente's Division of Research a Center for Diabetes Translation, with UCSF serving as a key collaborator. As one of seven centers nationwide, the focus will be on diabetes prevention, diabetes health technology and diabetes disparities.
The Diabetes Teaching Center was named a Technical Innovation Finalist in the San Francisco Business Times Health Care Heroes Awards. The award was presented in recognition of the Teaching Center’s innovation in creating Diabetes Education Online, www.deo.ucsf.edu.
Thanks to the generous support of a member of our Diabetes Center’s Leadership Council, we’ve brought diabetes to the forefront at UCSF through the recently-created UCSF Diabetes Family Fund for Innovative Patient Care, Education and Scientific Discovery. This fund seeks to stimulate and support creative, collaborative and imaginative innovations and projects whose outcomes and discoveries are transformative.
A talented young researcher has joined our team to help tackle the growing epidemics of obesity, insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome. Shingo Kajimura, PhD, is an accomplished researcher in the regulation of fat cell development and the molecular networks involved in the development of obesity-linked diseases such as type 2 diabetes.