Elliot, Michael Hale, PhD
Quantitative proteomic mapping of diabetic vasculature
General Research Subject: Both Type 1 And Type 2 Diabetes
Type of Grant: Innovation
Project Start Date: January 1, 2013
Project End Date: December 31, 2014
Eye and kidney diseases represent major complications of diabetes. The major goal of the proposed project is to discover new therapeutic targets for these disease complications in efforts to preserve sight and kidney function. The project focuses on the primary site of these complications by isolating the blood vessels from the retina and kidney of a rodent model of diabetic complications. The proteins from normal and diseased blood vessels will be collected and analyzed globally by methods generally referred to as "proteomics".
From this analysis, maps with large numbers of candidate proteins will be produced and the associations of these proteins will be determined. The specific enrichment of the blood vessels coupled with this type of large-scale global analysis will provide new potential mechanisms to explain these complications and, most importantly, will provide new directions to pursue for potential therapies.
What area of diabetes research does your project cover? What role will this particular project play in preventing, treating, and curing diabetes?
Vascular pathologies in the eye and kidney are major complications to the diabetes disease spectrum. We are interested in understanding how blood vessels become pathological during the course of diabetes and if we can identify molecular signatures that distinguish diabetic and normal blood vessels. The project focuses on identifying molecular changes that occur in the vasculature of the retina and the kidney in diabetes. We have developed techniques to dramatically enrich blood vessels from these tissues that allow us to globally compare changes in the levels of molecules between diabetic and normal blood vessels using what is referred to as proteomics. When this global biochemical approach is coupled with information technology, called bioinformatics, it is possible to determine the interaction networks and global associations between these molecules to gain a more complete understanding of the disease process and to identify novel therapeutic targets for diabetes-associated vascular complications.
If a person with diabetes were to ask you how your project will help them in the future, how would you respond?
The goal of the project is to identify novel targets to treat vascular disease associated with diabetes. The approach we will take will allow us to gain novel information about molecular networks or signatures that are associated with diseased blood vessels. By understanding these networks, we anticipate identifying novel targets for the development of pharmaceutical approaches to alleviate vascular disease during this chronic disease. Our approach may also identify novel markers for diseased blood vessels that would allow for the early diagnose of vascular complications in the eye and kidney.
Why is it important for you, personally, to become involved in diabetes research? What role will this award play in your efforts?
Diabetes is one of the most pressing health problems that our society now faces currently affecting an incredible 8.3% of the US population. It is the seventh leading cause of death in the US. My research interests have focused on eye diseases and we have recently become interested in understanding disease mechanisms related to diabetic vascular complications.
This award will allow us to identify novel molecular targets for therapy development and we hope will provide new research directions to pursue to translate the results of this funded study to future diabetes therapeutics. Our laboratory is situated in a clinical department (Ophthalmology) on a comprehensive health science center campus across the street from a recognized diabetes clinical and research center, the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center. We anticipate that with this American Diabetes Association support and the clinically-relevant diabetes research focus or our institution that we are well-positioned to eventually translate our findings to clinical application.
In what direction do you see the future of diabetes research going?
I envision the future of diabetes research to involve collaborative endeavours between basic scientists and clinicians to develop effective treatments and, hopefully, a cure for this major health problem. We are well-positioned to translate the findings of this ADA-supported project to meaningful future therapies with our close interaction with diabetes clinicians and ophthalmologists. These research/clinical collaborations are the key to successfully attacking this serious disease spectrum.
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