Alexandria, Virginia - With nearly 30 million adults and children in the U.S. living with diabetes, and another 86 million living with prediabetesa condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but are not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. People with prediabetes are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes and for heart disease and stroke. Other names for prediabetes are impaired glucose tolerance and impaired fasting glucose.X, diabetes is a physical and financial burden for the health of the nation.
To accelerate the research needed to discover solutions to this deadly epidemic, the American Diabetes Association’s bold initiative, Pathway to Stop Diabetes, will fund 100 new diabetes researchers over the next decade. Today, the Association announced the second group of Pathway scientists who will receive grant support to focus on transformational research approaches to Stop Diabetes®.
“By 2050, if our current course as a nation continues, one in three American adults will have diabetes. The cost to this country — in lives, lost productivity and hard dollars — will be enormous. We need to make progress in the fight against this disease,” said Samuel Dagogo-Jack, MD, FRCP, President, Medicine & Science, American Diabetes Association. “Pathway to Stop Diabetes is a bold, innovative initiative that will do just that, by radically transforming diabetes research through discovering and funding a new generation of brilliant scientists at the peak of their creativity.”
The recipients of the awards are:
- Celine Emmanuelle Riera, PhD, University of California, in Berkeley, Calf., received a Pathway Initiator Award for her basic research project titled, “Identification of Sensory Neural Circuits Controlling Metabolic Disorders.”
- Stephanie Stanford, PhD, La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, in La Jolla, Calf., received a Pathway Initiator Award for her basic research project titled, “PTPN22: Model Gene to Unravel the Interaction between Genetics and Environment in Type 1 Diabetes”.
- Thomas Delong, PhD, University of Colorado Denver, received a Pathway Accelerator – Early Investigator Award for his translational research project titled, “The Role of Hybrid Insulin Peptides in the Development of Type 1 Diabetesa condition characterized by high blood glucose levels caused by a total lack of insulin. Occurs when the body's immune system attacks the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas and destroys them. The pancreas then produces little or no insulin. Type 1 diabetes develops most often in young people but can appear in adults.X”.
- Zhen Gu, PhD, North Carolina State University, in Raleigh, received a Pathway Accelerator – Early Investigator Award for his basic research project titled, “Bio-Inspired Synthetic Pathway for Closed-Loop Delivery of Insulina hormone that helps the body use glucose for energy. The beta cells of the pancreas make insulin. When the body cannot make enough insulin, it is taken by injection or through use of an insulin pump.X and Glucagona hormone produced by the alpha cells in the pancreas. It raises blood glucose. An injectable form of glucagon, available by prescription, may be used to treat severe hypoglycemia. The opposite of insulinX”.
- Marie-France Hivert, MD, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, in Boston, received a Pathway Accelerator – Early Investigator Award for her clinical research project titled, “Understanding Pathways of Fetal Metabolic Programming to Stop the Transgenerational Risk of Diabetes”.
- Mayland Chang, PhD, University of Notre Dame, in Notre Dame, Ind., received a Pathway Accelerator – New to Diabetes Award for her translational research project titled, “A Strategy to Accelerate Diabetic Wound Repair”.
With more than $35 million in generous gifts from individuals, foundation and corporations, including program sponsors Sanofi, Novo Nordisk, AstraZeneca and the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation, the prestigious Pathway award nominees are selected through internal competition at U.S. academic and nonprofit research institutions that identify and nominate their most creative and talented scientists. These scientists, who are just starting their careers in diabetes research, or who are already established in another field but want to expand their focus to diabetes research, propose innovative ideas for diabetes research projects. From 116 nominations this year, the American Diabetes Association awarded six Pathway grants.
“AstraZeneca is proud to support the American Diabetes Association’s Pathway to Stop Diabetes researchers working to discover innovative treatment options and solutions to address a wide range of needs for patients living with diabetes,” said Topher Brooke, Vice President, U.S. Diabetes, AstraZeneca. “We are committed to research efforts that may ultimately deliver treatments to support a more personalized approach to disease management.”
Selected Pathway award recipients will receive $1.625 million in support for five to seven years to fund research relevant to any diabetes type, diabetes-related disease state or diabetes complication. Nominations included investigators from a broad range of disciplines, including medicine, biology, chemistry, engineering, physics and mathematics.
“Diabetes research still needs its champions in research to find new treatments and treatment strategies for patients into the next decade,” said Todd Hobbs, Chief Medical Officer, Novo Nordisk Inc. “We’re excited to see this new group of researchers get funding and look forward to seeing where the research leads us.”
Pathway award recipients are selected by a Mentor Advisory Group — a group of eminent scientists from diabetes and other fields who seek in applicants the core elements for exceptional science: rigorous thought processes, keen intellect, and capacity for innovation, creativity and productivity. The Mentors/Advisors also provide ongoing scientific and career advice, creating a challenging and collaborative environment for science to thrive.
“Sanofi congratulates the new class of Pathway to Stop Diabetes award recipients and the American Diabetes Association on the continued success of this initiative,” said Andrew Purcell, Vice President and Head of U.S. Diabetes, Sanofi US. “We share a mutual goal with these researchers in our commitment to discover and deliver innovative solutions to improve diabetes management and we look forward to seeing their scientific contributions.”
In addition to substantial and flexible financial support, and an environment of strong mentorship, Pathway will provide scientists with networks for communication and collaboration; special symposia and speaking engagements; and unique collaborative opportunities that will accelerate the advancement and translation of their science, and lead to breakthrough discoveries. To learn more, visit diabetes.org/pathway.
“It’s exciting to think about the groundbreaking discoveries that could result from these research grants,” said Gwen Krivi, Vice President, Product Development, Lilly Diabetes. “Lilly is proud to support a program that aids scientists as they seek to find new ways to understand this pervasive disease.”