Hadassah Research – Treating Diabetes

17Aug10

Here’s just some of the interesting work Hadassah is doing in the field of  Diabetes Research:

  • Prof. Itamar Raz, Director of the Diabetes Unit, is heading a large international research trial to assess the potential of a new medication (Onglyza™) to decrease the risk of cardiovascular events and related mortality in patients with Type 2 diabetes. Prof. Raz is co-chairing the study, entitled SAVOR (“Saxagliptin in Assessment of Vascular Outcomes Recorded in Patients with Diabetes Mellitus”) in collaboration with Dr. Eugene Braunwald, Chairman of the TIMI (Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction) Study Group of Boston, MA, a world leader in conducting clinical trials that assess the care of patients with coronary artery diseases. SAVOR is a five-year study, to be conducted in multiple countries, including Israel. Targeted enrollment is 12,000 patients with Type 2 diabetes. Onglyza™ is currently approved in 40 countries, including the United States and the European Union, and was recently submitted for registration in Israel.
  • The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), an international leader in diabetic research, the Hadassah Medical Center, Hebrew University, and Pfizer have begun a collaborative project to explore the potential of drugs to stimulate replication and regeneration of insulin-producing cells in people with Type 1 diabetes. This program focuses on finding ways to restore the body’s ability to make insulin.
  • For 25 years, Hadassah’s Dr. Miriam Kidron has worked to develop an oral insulin pill. The problem is that while insulin helps controls glucose levels in the body, it also breaks down in the digestive system, making its absorption into the blood stream weak.  Dr. Kidron has succeeded in creating an orally ingestible soft gel specially engineered to protect the insulin from the destructive effects of gastric juices. The insulin it delivers goes straight to the liver, which stores insulin and controls the dose being delivered to the body.  Hadassah is now engaged in a study of the capsule’s safety and efficacy on Type 2 diabetes patients.
  • Hadassah researchers have demonstrated that Colostrum, the milk produced by cows immediately after calving, dramatically lowers the level of sugar and insulin resistance in mice with a model of fatty liver disease. The researchers showed that because Colostrum is enriched with insulin antibodies, it can affect the cells that regulate inflammation (Regulatory T cells) in the liver and fat tissues and lower sugar levels, thus improving insulin resistance.
  • Hadassah scientists have demonstrated successfully that by inoculating patients at the first onset of Type I diabetes, the destruction of pancreatic beta cells can be avoided, thus improving the function of insulin-producing cells.  Hadassah researchers also are developing a new peptide to help prevent Type I diabetes.  Finally, clinical trials undertaken at Hadassah are showing that inhaling a daily insulin dose is as effective as injecting and is safe for the lungs.  While not all patients with diabetes will be able to eliminate injections entirely, inhaled insulin may improve significantly the quality of life for many.
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