January 24, 2018 |
UC San Diego School of Medicine Researchers Tackle Unanswered Type 1 Diabetes Questions
December 9, 2016  | 

San Diego, CA - Past research has led to the development of treatments that make type 1 diabetes a chronic but manageable disorder for the 1.25 million people who live with the disease in the US.

Still, there are many unanswered questions about the mechanisms that contribute to the onset of type 1 diabetes. Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine hope to answer some of them with two Type 1 Diabetes Special Statutory Funding Program grants from the National Institutes of Health totaling more than $5 million. 

Two research teams are tackling the condition from different angles. Leading one effort are Maike Sander, MD, professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Cellular and Molecular Medicine, and Kelly Frazer, PhD, professor in the Department of Pediatrics, who have brought together investigators in human genome sciences, type 1 diabetes biology and human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC).

“We know there is a genetic component to type 1 diabetes,” said Sander, director of the Pediatric Diabetes Research Center. “Some people have bad genetics leading them to be more prone to develop this disease. The key is to study the human condition and human cells to understand type 1 diabetes from the genes up.”  

Sander and colleagues were awarded $3.3 million to link type 1 diabetes to its genetic origins. Previous studies have identified heritable risk factors, but the complexity of the disease allows for many different genetic variants among people with diabetes. This research will focus on identifying where the genetic risks are expressed, what variants are associated with them and what cellular processes are regulated. To do this, the team proposes to combine the latest computational methods, high-throughput molecular assays and human pluripotent stem cells-based cell models. Continue>

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