Diabetes Center Celebrates 10 Years of Research and Care

September 23, 2010

Jeffrey Bluestone

The UCSF Diabetes Center will celebrate a decade of advancing translational research in diabetes on Friday, with a scientific symposium featuring the nation’s leaders in diabetes research and care.

UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann, MD, PhD, will launch the symposium alongside UCSF Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Jeffrey Bluestone, PhD, whose scientific leadership over the last 10 years has placed the UCSF Diabetes Center at the forefront in the effort to translate research into improvements in patient care.

The symposium will examine such topics as the potential for using stem cells to regenerate islet cells, as well as the latest clinical advances in beta cell replacement therapy, clinical trials in diabetes prevention and new-onset diabetes, and reaching the underserved.

Guest speakers will hail from UCSF, Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, Columbia University School of Medicine and San Raffaele Hospital and Scientific Institute, in Milan, Italy.

UCSF has a long history as a national leader in diabetes, dating back to 1949, when the Metabolic Research Unit was established by the California State Legislature for clinical research and training in metabolic and endocrine diseases.

The ongoing efforts in research, education and patient care were pulled together under one roof in 2000, after UCSF recruited Bluestone, one of the world’s leading experts on why the body’s immune system decides to reject or accept transplanted tissue. In that decade, in addition to his own research, Bluestone has united UCSF’s multiple programs into an integrated center that could focus on translational care. Bluestone’s own research into a monoclonal antibody, anti-CD3, also has progressed farther than any other type 1 therapy on the road to drug development and commercialization.

Matthias Hebrok

The decade also includes the Bluestone’s launch and leadership of the Immune Tolerance Network, an international collaborative of some of the world’s foremost authorities on immune tolerance that conducts clinical trials of specialized immune tolerance therapies in three areas: organ transplant rejection; autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, lupus and others; and the prevention and treatment of allergies and asthma.

In mid-June, UCSF tapped renowned diabetes researcher Matthias Hebrok, PhD, to lead both the Diabetes Center and the Metabolic Research Unit into the next decade of advances in the field. Hebrok is considered one of the world’s foremost experts in pancreatic development.

The symposium will take place in Cole Hall, in the UCSF Medical Sciences Building, from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on Friday, September 24, and is free of charge. Members of the UCSF community, general public and media are encouraged to attend.

For a schedule of symposium speakers and more information about the anniversary events, visit www.diabetes.ucsf.edu/celebration.