Recent Advances

Learn about exciting recent advances attributable to American Diabetes Association-funded researchers.

July 21, 2014
Type 2 Diabetes Gene Acts through Neighboring Pancreas Cells
Beta cells in the pancreas are known to secrete insulin to regulate blood glucose. A recent study shows that one gene linked to type 2 diabetes actually works in the delta cell, a neighboring cell type within the pancreas, which helps “remotely” control insulin and glucagon production in beta and alpha cells, respectively.

July 31, 2013
Biological Clock May Influence Obesity and Diabetes
Disruptions in circadian rhythms, resulting from activities such as shift work or frequent jet lag, have been linked to various health risks, including sleep disorders, hormone imbalances, and even cancer progression. Circadian rhythms also play a critical role in the pathways that regulate energy and metabolism, and growing evidence suggests that circadian disruptions can also contribute to obesity and type 2 diabetes.

June 30, 2013
Researcher Blocks the Harmful Effects of a High-Fructose Diet
Research has shown that consumption of fructose poses detrimental effects to health, including rapid fat accumulation in the liver and in other important organs. Lead investigator Yuri Sautin, PhD, from the University of Florida, has recently shed light on the way fructose is broken down, or metabolized, by the body. By elucidating these pathways he had discovered a way to potentially block its harmful effects.

May 31, 2013
Methane-producing Bacteria in Gut May Increase Risk for Diabetes
ADA-funded investigator Ruchi Mathur, MD is exploring a possible link between microorganisms found in the gut and an increased risk of developing obesity and diabetes.

April 30, 2013
Occasional Binge Drinking May Increase Risk for Type 2 Diabetes
A study conducted by an Association-funded researcher indicates that binge drinking may increase the risk for developing metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Lead investigator Christoph Buettner, MD, PhD, found that consuming alcohol in a binge pattern induces insulin resistance independent of caloric intake. Binge drinking appears to impair the way the brain responds to insulin, even well after the alcohol has been cleared from the system.

March 31, 2013
Brown Fat Transplant May Aid in Weight Loss and Diabetes Management
A study conducted by ADA-funded researchers at the Joslin Diabetes Center suggests that brown fat transplants could help combat obesity and lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In the January 2013 issue of The Journal of Clinical Investigation, Laurie J. Goodyear, PhD, and postdoctoral fellow Roeland J.W. Middelbeek, MD, show that increasing brown fat via transplantation dramatically promotes weight loss and improves blood-glucose control in mice – results that they hope may translate to humans.

February 28, 2013
Vitamin D Deficiency May Contribute to Clogged Arteries in People with Type 2 Diabetes
In a recent Association-supported study, investigator Carlos Bernal-Mizrachi, MD, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has found that low levels of vitamin D may play a causal role in atherosclerosis in people with type 2 diabetes.

January 31, 2013
Association-Funded Researcher Honored with Prestigious Massachusetts Award
The Association congratulates James A. Hamilton, PhD, of Boston University School of Medicine, for his 2012 election into the prestigious class of Massachusetts Academy of Sciences (MAS) Fellows. The honor recognizes Dr. Hamilton’s commitment to addressing public health challenges and his contribution to novel research strategies to study diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

October 31, 2012
Novel Insight on Fat Cell Regulation May Hold Key for Anti-Obesity Drugs
Association-funded researchers at the University of Michigan have recently shed light on important biological processes contributing to obesity and metabolic complications like diabetes.The discovery may explain why fat expands and metabolism slows as obesity progresses.

August 31, 2012
Chemicals in Popular Consumer Products Associated with Increased Risk of Diabetes in Women
Chemicals commonly found in beauty and hygiene products may increase the risk of diabetes in women. Tamarra James-Todd, PhD, and her mentor Janet Rich-Edwards, PhD, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital suggest that exposure to phthalates may be partially to blame for the growing prevalence of diabetes in women.

July 31, 2012
Accelerating Wound Closure in Patients with Diabetes
One of the most common complications associated with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes is delayed wound healing. If left untreated, wounds can lead to infection, amputation, and even death. Results from an ADA-funded study presented at the Association's 72nd Scientific Sessions introduced a novel treatment strategy that may significantly improve wound healing.

April 30, 2012
Diabetes May Originate in the Intestines
While the role of the pancreas and the liver in the development of diabetes are well described, a recent study conducted by ADA-funded researchers at Washington University in St. Louis suggests that the digestive system may also play a surprising and important role in developing the disease.

March 31, 2012
ADA Researcher Receives Top Award in Medicine
Congratulations to Philipp E. Scherer, PhD of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center for winning the 2012 Peter and Edith O’Donnell Award – the most prestigious honor in the field of medicine awarded in the state of Texas. Presented by The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas (TAMEST), the award recognizes Dr. Scherer’s exceptional accomplishment and contribution to research in diabetes and obesity.

February 29, 2012
Innovative Immune Cell Re-education Technique Holds Promise for Type 1 Diabetes
In 2010, the ADA funded an innovative research project lead by Yong Zhao, MD, PhD, who proposed a novel use for stem cells, derived from human umbilical cord blood, to overcome autoimmunity in patients with type 1 diabetes and ultimately reverse the disease.

January 31, 2012
Vera Novak: Type 2 Diabetes Deteriorates Brain Function
While the impact of diabetes on brain function is complex and poorly understood, Vera Novak, MD, PhD, has made novel clinical breakthroughs in this field of medicine and has established strong links between diabetes, inflammation, and blood flow within the brain. Furthermore, she has confirmed the correlation between the hallmarks of type 2 diabetes, brain atrophy and cognitive decline in aging adults.

November 30, 2011
Estrogen in the Brain Prevents Obesity in Women
ADA-funded researcher Yong Xu, MD, PhD, from the Baylor College of Medicine, has now uncovered the critical areas in the brain where estrogen acts through specific estrogen receptors, known as ER- to control metabolism, energy expenditure, and reproduction.

October 31, 2011
Saturated vs. Unsaturated: Why Some Fats are Healthier Than Others
A recent ADA-funded study conducted by Michael Karin, PhD and his postdoctoral fellow Debanjan Dhar, PhD from the University of California, San Diego, may help explain why saturated fat is more likely to cause insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

September 30, 2011
Laura Shin: Bone Marrow Stem Cells Hold Promise for Treating Diabetes-related Foot Complications
ADA-funded clinical scientist Laura Shin, from the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, aspires to achieve an effective therapy for diabetic foot complications through the use of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), a type of stem cell that can be isolated from adult bone marrow.

May 31, 2011
Changes in Amino Acid Levels Following Gastric Bypass May Improve Diabetes
Two American Diabetes Association-supported researchers have discovered potential clues that may help explain why gastric bypass surgery provides these beneficial effects independent of weight loss.

April 30, 2011
Insulin Signaling in the Brain Controls Fat Metabolism
American Diabetes Association-funded researcher Christoph Buettner, M.D., Ph.D., is the first to show that brain insulin signaling is a major regulator of fat metabolism.