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University of Chicago's Graeme Bell receives international diabetes prize
Date:12/4/2012

Working with colleague Nancy Cox, PhD, Professor of Medicine and Human Genetics and Section Chief of Genetic Medicine at the University of Chicago, Bell discovered mutations in the genes for glucokinase and for three transcription factors that cause an early-onset form of diabetes called maturity-onset diabetes of the young. Once thought to be very rare, this form of diabetes represents up to 5 percent of cases. Correct genetic diagnosis can alter treatment and improve clinical outcome.

"Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Graeme's research in diabetes is its scope," Cox said. "He has made fundamental discoveries, but he also wants to make sure that patients benefit quickly from those advances. He engages with scientists in health care economics to evaluate the costs and benefits of translating the research findings into routine patient care, and works with clinicians to develop protocols for that translation. Few have the ability and the drive to do basic, translational and clinical research so effectively. This is a well-deserved honor."

Bell is a key member of the University of Chicago Medicine's diabetes genetics team, whose work involves using genetics to personalize treatment targeted to a patient's specific genetic defect. Babies with diabetes provide the most dramatic example of this approach. Nearly half have diabetes due to mutations in genes. Some of these children can be treated with pills that compensate for the genetic defect, rather than with insulin shots. More than 1,500 patients and family members are now participating in genetic studies aimed at improving treatment through a better understanding of genetics.

The Manpei Suzuki Diabetes Foundation promotes research on diabetes by encouraging international contacts among young scientists. Manpei Suzuki, former chairman of the Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers' Association of Japan, chairman of the Board of Directors of Sankyo Co. Ltd. and member of the J
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Contact: John Easton
john.easton@uchospitals.edu
773-795-5225
University of Chicago Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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