UCSF diabetes center gains prestigious NIH designation

By Wallace Ravven on May 28, 2003

The National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) has designated the UCSF Diabetes Center as a Diabetes Endocrinology Research Center - one of only 11 programs nationally to hold this prestigious rank.

The new designation acknowledges the high quality of the UCSF diabetes-related research program and provides more than $5 million of support over five years to improve the quality and multidisciplinary nature of research on diabetes.

UCSF has a rich history of research progress related to diabetes. Scientists here first demonstrated the link between obesity and type 2 diabetes. UCSF researchers were the first to clone the gene that produces insulin, and UCSF coordinated the first multi-center clinical trial of human insulin.

On-going research explores the nature and function of insulin receptors in cells, the genetics of obesity and the molecular-level controls of the auto-immune response found in type 1 diabetes.

Researchers bring to bear expertise in metabolism, nutrition, endocrinology, human genetics, immunology and molecular and cell biology.

Director of the Diabetes Center is Jeffrey Bluestone, PhD, the AW and Mary Clausen Distinguished Professor in Metabolism and Endocrinology at UCSF.

Seeking cures rather than treatment, UCSF is opening Northern California’s first islet transplantation facility to provide type 1 diabetics with insulin-producing islet cells to replace those destroyed by their immune system. The center will support a range of other treatments, all requiring human cells to be isolated, processed or modified in preparation for transplantation into patients.

The UCSF Diabetes Center is also known for its strong commitment to patient education. A nationally recognized teaching center helps patients manage the changes in lifestyle that the disease requires.

“This outstanding national honor will further strengthen collaborations among multidisciplinary groups of investigators in UCSF’s Diabetes Center as they search for new methods to treat, prevent and ultimately cure diabetes and related endocrine and metabolic disorders,” said Haile Debas, MD, dean of the UCSF School of Medicine and UCSF vice chancellor for medical affairs. “The new designation recognizes the combined efforts of an incredible team of dedicated researchers, medical professionals and support staff.”

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