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Continued Funding to Help Advance 'Exciting Moment' in Diabetes Research
Date:4/30/2008

American Diabetes Association and Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation Announce Renewed Commitment to Diabetes Gene Study

ALEXANDRIA, Va., April 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has announced research projects to study newly discovered human type 2 diabetes genes in mice, and potentially find new drug molecules that can treat the genetic causes of type 2 diabetes. The projects will be funded through a renewed partnership -- between the ADA/Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation Pinnacle Program Project Award -- of more than $2 million over three years.

Evan Rosen, MD, PhD, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and Vamsi K. Mootha, MD, of Harvard University are lead researchers for the grant projects. Dr. Rosen's study Humanized Mouse Models of Type 2 Diabetes will focus on whether mouse models with human diabetes genes will have beneficial effects on glucose control. Dr. Mootha's project Cellular Models of Human Type 2 Diabetes Genes will study whether markers can be established to monitor therapeutic responses. This grant will expand on the foundation that the first Pinnacle Program Project, Systematic identification of pathways contributing to diabetes and obesity, set forth.

Research from the Foundation's initial grant led to the discovery of five new genes associated with type 2 diabetes, as well as one for obesity and one for triglyceride levels (a component of blood cholesterol). The discoveries were found with the use of a new and powerful approach to diabetes research developed based on contributions by the group, whole genome association studies (WGAS).

"The discoveries of these researchers have contributed greatly to our knowledge of genes influencing diabetes and to a lesser extent obesity," commented Cathy Bernstein, Chair, ADA Research Foundation. "The novel genes identified by this approach were completely unexpected from previous knowledge, and have opened up new windows into the biology of these diseases."

"This is a truly exciting moment, with great possibilities for building and expanding on these successes," commented Scott Campbell, ADA Vice President of Research. "These newly discovered genes provide leads that must be followed to decipher the causes of type 2 diabetes and to obtain clues for improving prevention and treatment."

The Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation Pinnacle Program Project Award was established to stimulate new collaborations among investigators working on independent but complementary research projects aimed at developing methods of preventing type 2 diabetes.

About the American Diabetes Association

The American Diabetes Association is the nation's premier voluntary health organization supporting diabetes research, information and advocacy. Founded in 1940, the Association has offices in every region of the country, providing services to hundreds of communities. The Association's commitment to research is reflected through its scientific meetings; education and provider recognition programs; and its Research Foundation and Nationwide Research Program, which fund breakthrough studies looking into the cure, prevention, and treatment of diabetes and its complications. The American Diabetes Association Research Foundation was created to raise support for diabetes research conducted within the Nationwide Research Program. One hundred percent of all Research Foundation contributions go directly to diabetes research. All non-research costs associated with the Research Program are paid for through the Association's general fund.

For more information, please visit http://www.diabetes.org or call 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383). Information from both these sources is available in English and Spanish.


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SOURCE American Diabetes Association
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