Woods, Thomas Cooper, PhD
Acceleration of intimal hyperplasia by Diabetes induced increases in miR-221 and -222
General Research Subject: Both Type 1 And Type 2 Diabetes
Focus: Complications, Complications\ Macrovascular-Atherosclerotic CVD and Human Diabetes
Type of Grant: Basic Science
Project Start Date: January 1, 2013
Project End Date: December 31, 2015
Diabetics are two to four times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease. This proposal will examine how changes in the way the arteries respond to the hormone insulin promote an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Initial studies suggest that onset of diabetes is associated with an increase in the arteries of two RNA molecules, known as miR-221 and miR-222, that can accelerate an aspect of cardiovascular disease known as intimal thickening. The proposal hypothesizes that changes in the response of arteries to insulin leads to an increase in miR-221 and miR-222 that in turn leads to increased intimal thickening. To address this, the proposal first defines the problem by mapping out the effects of increased miR-221 and miR-222 on the arteries and the progression of intimal thickening. It then identifies what changes in the response to insulin are driving this increase in miR-221 and miR-222. Finally, it tests a potential mechanism for preventing this increase in miR-221 and miR-222. Thus, it will first define the problem, then identify the reasons behind it, and then finally test a potential remedy. These studies will provide important information as to how diabetes changes the way the arteries respond to insulin and how this leads to the cardiovascular complications associated with diabetes. In doing so, it will identify new targets for therapies aimed at preventing the increased cardiovascular disease seen in the diabetic population.
What area of diabetes research does your project cover? What role will this particular project play in preventing, treating and/or curing diabetes?
Patients with diabetes are at a two to four times greater risk of heart attacks and strokes than patients without diabetes. This project seeks to better understand the changes that occur in the arteries of diabetic subjects that lead to an increase in heart attacks and strokes. Our goal is to identify new ways of treating diabetes that help prevent this increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
If a person with diabetes were to ask you how your project will help them in the future, how would you respond?
Today, patients with diabetes receive similar treatments as non-diabetics for cardiovascular disease, although in a more aggressive manner. In the future, we hope that our findings will lead to treatments for cardiovascular disease that are designed for patients with diabetes.
Why is it important for you, personally, to become involved in diabetes research? What role will this award play in your research efforts?
I believe that as the rates of obesity and diabetes continue to increase, we need to focus on how to personalize treatment for this high risk patient population. This award will provide the support for us to expand our initial studies into a full research program aimed at identifying and exploiting the differences in the progression of cardiovascular disease in diabetic subjects.
In what direction do you see the future of diabetes research going?
We have made great strides in treating cardiovascular disease in patients that are otherwise healthy. As the prevalence of diabetes increases, we will see more and more focus on the interplay between diabetes and other diseases, especially cardiovascular disease and cancers.
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