American Diabetes Association Research Foundation and Novo Nordisk Award Research Grant to University of Virginia Health System and Stanford University School of Medicine Scholars

September 1, 2009

The American Diabetes Association Research Foundation has selected two scientists, University of Virginia Health System researcher Zhenqi Liu, MD, and Stanford University School of Medicine researcher Gerald Reaven, MD, to receive the American Diabetes Association-Novo Nordisk Clinical/Translational Research Award. This $1.2 million grant program supports efforts to study the effects of intestinal hormones, such as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), on obesity and pre-diabetes, two risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
In receiving this award, each researcher will receive a $600,000 grant to study the role of GLP-1 in people at risk for or with diabetes. GLP-1 is a hormone secreted by L-cells located in the distal intestines that stimulates insulin secretion in a glucose-dependent fashion.

Dr. Liu's research will help to better understand the role of native GLP-1 in the progression of obesity, pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes. The findings from this research could provide more insight into what biomarkers might be used to allow earlier intervention to prevent and/or treat obesity and/or pre-diabetes before type 2 diabetes develops.

Dr. Reaven's research will look beyond the direct effects of liraglutide, a GLP-1 analog, on glucose control and into areas such as weight control, satiety and the effects on cardiovascular risk factors such as triglycerides and blood pressure.

"Studying the role of GLP-1 and other incretin hormones in people with type 2 diabetes and those at risk holds much promise," commented Scott Campbell, PhD, American Diabetes Association Vice President of Research Programs. "Emerging science shows us that GLP-1 treatments can positively affect glucose metabolism and may increase beta-cell mass, two important elements that could some day lead to a cure for type 2 diabetes."

"Novo Nordisk's highest priority has always been the health and well being of people living with diabetes, and we strive to do everything we can to conduct and support research that will lead to the discovery of new, innovative treatments for people affected," says Nathaniel G. Clark, MD, MS, RD, Novo Nordisk's Senior Medical Advisor - Diabetes.  "This is why, as part of our Changing Diabetes Leadership Initiative, we are truly pleased to support the American Diabetes Association in supporting studies investigating the full potential of this medication class in both those with and at risk for type 2 diabetes."

Find out more about American Diabetes Association-funded research projects.

The American Diabetes Association Research Foundation, founded in 1994, was created to raise major contributions to fund diabetes research conducted through a nationwide research program. Today, one hundred percent of all Research Foundation contributions go directly to support the business of diabetes science. In FY08, the American Diabetes Association Research Foundation invested approximately $42.5 million in diabetes research, funding 442 researchers nationwide at over 172 leading research institutions in the country. The Association has invested more than $500 million and provided funding for more than 4,000 research projects.

About the American Diabetes Association

More than 30 million Americans have diabetes, and every 21 seconds another person is diagnosed with diabetes. The American Diabetes Association (Association) is the global authority on diabetes and since 1940 has been committed to its mission to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. To tackle this global public health crisis, the Association drives discovery in research to treat, manage and prevent all types of diabetes, as well as to search for cures; raises voice to the urgency of the diabetes epidemic; and provides support and advocacy for people living with diabetes, those at risk of developing diabetes and the health care professionals who serve them. For more information, please call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETESS (1-800-342-2383) or visit Information from both of these sources is available in English and Spanish. Find us on Facebook (American Diabetes Association), Twitter (@AmDiabetesAssn) and Instagram (@AmDiabetesAssn)