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Local News

U of L Partners with International Diabetes Research Team

The University of Louisville’s Department of Pediatrics is joining an international research team to explore ways to treat and prevent Type 1 diabetes.

The department is a participant in TrialNet, which is made up of clinics throughout the world that study the disease. U of L will work with Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, which acts as one of TrialNet’s 18 primary clinical centers.

U of L already studies Type 1 diabetes in children, but the new partnership will extend to families of children with the disease, said Dr. Kupper Wintergerst, director of U of L’s pediatric TrialNet site.

“It is designed to identify individuals who are at high risk of Type 1 diabetes and then take those individuals and then gives us the opportunity to perhaps enroll them in studies that might be able to delay or even prevent Type 1 diabetes from even occurring,” he said.

Family members of persons with Type 1 diabetes will be subject to the normal blood tests and eligible participants may have the chance to enroll in further studies to help prevent the onset of the disease, he said.

“It’s really a doorway to opportunity. And it also, obviously is important, from a clinical standpoint, for that family to be able to test their children when that testing is not available to them outside of TrialNet,” Wintergerst said.

The Annual Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk is Saturday at Churchill Downs, where families will have the opportunity to enroll in the research, he said. Enrollment is open to any and all eligible individuals.

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Local News Next Louisville

U of L Researchers Make Progress In Study Of Kidney Failure

Research conducted by University of Louisville scientists is showing promise in determining what causes many diabetes patients to suffer kidney failure.

The team is led by Dr. Paul Epstein, acting director of the Kosair Children’s Hospital Research Institute. He says researchers have been able to replicate–in lab mice–genetic changes that take place in the human kidney during diabetic failure.

That suggests to us that interfering with this inflammatory process that’s going on will most likely be a possible approach for therapy for slowing the progression of the disease and maybe not so important for stopping it at its very beginning,” he said.

Epstein says its hoped that the research will eventually lead to human testing and the development of drugs to treat diabetic kidney failure.

The research is the focus of an article this month in the medical journal Experimental Nephrology.

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Local News

State Agency, Medical Professionals Working On Diabetes Plan

Some state workers and medical professionals are currently gathering public input for a statewide diabetes plan.

The plan would outline how the state and various agencies will work on diabetes treatment and prevention. Theresa Renn is coordinator of the Diabetes Prevention and Control Program. She says many other states have plans in place, and Kentucky should be no different.

“We would really like to have that kind of consensus document to be able to guide our collective efforts over the next few years so one of the best ways to do that is to develop a state plan with a lot of input from folks across the state,” she says.

Renn is working with representatives from various diabetes organizations. The committee has posted a survey online for diabetes patients, their family members and their health care providers. The results will be reviewed at a meeting in September. Renn says a final plan will likely be complete by February.

More than one million Kentuckians either have diabetes or are at high risk of developing the disease.

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State of Affairs

Type 1 Diabetes

We hear a lot about obesity and its link to diabetes – an inability of the pancreas to regulate glucose levels in the blood. But Type 1 Diabetes is actually a genetic disease that first shows up in childhood, unrelated to weight or fitness level. It’s often called juvenile diabetes, but its effect lasts a lifetime. Join the discussion on Thursday as we take a look at the causes and treatment of the disease and find out what it’s like to live with Type 1 Diabetes.

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Local News

U of L Recieves NIH Grant

From WFPL’s Raj Ahuja

The University of Louisville has received an $11.6 million National Institutes of Health grant for diabetes and obesity research. 

U of L’s principal investigator in the research, Aruni Bhatnagar, says the funds will allow scientists to make more significant advances in their study of the conditions.

 “Until now we’ve been sort of nibbling at the edges.  With this award it will allow us to address the problem head on with significant depth and rigor so we can make an effective contribution to the fundamental understanding of the causes and consequences of diabetes and obesity and to make adifference in the lives of people who are struggling with these conditions,” Bhatnagar said.

Kentucky ranks high nationally in diabetes and obesity rates.