EVMS Strelitz Diabetes Program
Towards a Cure for Diabetes
- Diabetes is a severe, life-threatening disease resulting from an impairment of the body's ability to turn glucose into usable energy.
- In 1997, research scientists at the Strelitz Diabetes Center at Eastern Virginia discovered a gene called they called INGAP (Islet Neogenesis Associated Protein) as a possible cure for diabetes. This breakthrough discovery was made under the direction of Dr Aaron I. Vinik, Director of Research. Dr. Vinik’s research team collaborated with Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg, M.D., who is the Director of Surgical Research at McGill University and the Center for Diabetes Research at Montreal General Hospital in Montreal, Canada.
- The work on INGAP was based on the strong belief that the cure for diabetes was in finding a way to generate new insulin secreting cells from the body’s own pancreatic islet cells.
- At the 1999 Cosmopolitan International Convention in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, the delegates approved the support of the INGAP diabetes research efforts as a new Cosmopolitan International Project. This support was reaffirmed at the 2000 Cosmopolitan International Convention in Rapid City, South Dakota, when the delegates approved a commitment to raise $150,000 each year for the next five years for INGAP research to find a cure for diabetes.
- While INGAP is able to regenerate insulin-producing cells, the auto immune process, characteristic of type 1 diabetes, continues to destroy the cells. Now a new approach to preserving the beta cells in the pancreas is underway.
- Recently, David Taylor-Fishwick, PhD, Associate Professor, Internal Medicine and Director of the Cell, Molecular and Islet Biology Laboratory, began working on research which applies to both regenerative and autoimmune medicine.
- The great news is that Dr. Taylor-Fishwick was awarded a grant by the Department of Defense that will fund the next phase in the team’s research –finding a way to neutralize the immune system’s attack of the beta cells. This immune attack occurs at the onset of diabetes and may continue after type 1 diabetes has appeared.
- Dr. Taylor-Fishwick and his team will test several experimental drugs developed by Jerry Nadler, MD, Chairman of Internal Medicine and Director of the EVMS Strelitz Diabetes Center. The compounds are designed to modify the autoimmune response and stabilize beta cells. The possibility of being able to regenerate insulin-producing islet cells and stopping the body’s immune attacks is very exciting.
For U.S. Contributions to Diabetes Research:
Mail Donations to: Cosmopolitan Diabetes Foundation, P.O. Box 7371, Lancaster PA 17604. Please make checks payable to: Cosmopolitan Diabetes Foundation. Inc. (Note: indicate on check memo line "For EVMC")
For Canadian Contributions to Diabetes Research:
Mail Donations to:Cosmopolitan Foundation Canada, Inc., P.O. Box 35059, Sherwood Mall, Regina, SK S4X 4C6. Please make checks payable to: Cosmopolitan Foundation Canada, Inc. (Note: Indicate on check memo line "For EVMC")