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New Nanotechnology Method Could Replace Injections for Diabetics

  1. Top of page
  2. New Nanotechnology Method Could Replace Injections for Diabetics
  3. Ohio State Bike Race Funds Novel Ideas in Cancer Research
  4. Alaskan Researcher Explores Plant's Role in Treating Disease
  5. Indianapolis-based Science Center Seeks to Improve Implementation of New Drug Discoveries, Treatments
  6. Collaboration among Academic Research Teams Expected to Advance Clinical, Translational Science Studies

Researchers at North Carolina State University (NC, USA) in Raleigh and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill, USA) have developed a nanotechnology technique that helps control blood sugar levels and release insulin in diabetics without the need for painful daily injections.

The method involves injecting biocompatible and biodegradable nanoparticles filled with insulin into a patient's skin. Once injected, the insulin is contained in a subcutaneous reservoir that waits to be delivered. The ultimate goal would be that patients could use a small, handheld device to apply focused ultrasound waves to the injection site and trigger the release of insulin into the bloodstream.

“We've done proof-of-concept testing [of this device] in laboratory mice with type 1 diabetes, but we must test it in large animal studies,” says Zhen Gu, PhD, assistant professor in the joint biomedical engineering program at NC State and UNC-Chapel Hill.

Dr. Gu et al. found that the technique leads to a quick release of insulin into the bloodstream and can regulate blood glucose levels for up to 10 days. If the method works in humans, it would spare patients with diabetes from having to inject insulin multiple times a day and provide them with a better quality of life, Dr. Gu notes.

“There's a lot of work to be done, but it's extremely exciting,” says John Buse, MD, PhD, director of UNC-Chapel Hill's Diabetes Care Center and deputy director of the university's National Institutes of Health Clinical and Translational Sciences Award. “The near-term appeal of this technique would be for the minority of patients whose blood sugar is horribly controlled, but who make up a large percentage of the total burden of disability [on the healthcare system] due to diabetes,” Dr. Buse adds.

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Scientists have devised a way to use ultrasound waves to trigger the release of insulin subcutaneously in diabetics.

Ohio State Bike Race Funds Novel Ideas in Cancer Research

  1. Top of page
  2. New Nanotechnology Method Could Replace Injections for Diabetics
  3. Ohio State Bike Race Funds Novel Ideas in Cancer Research
  4. Alaskan Researcher Explores Plant's Role in Treating Disease
  5. Indianapolis-based Science Center Seeks to Improve Implementation of New Drug Discoveries, Treatments
  6. Collaboration among Academic Research Teams Expected to Advance Clinical, Translational Science Studies

Cancer research was the big winner of Ohio's Pelotonia bicycle race last year, which generated more than $19 million to further studies into development of a cutting- edge leukemia drug, among other therapeutic initiatives.

In all, nine research projects received funding-dubbed idea grants-from proceeds of the cycling event, a grassroots effort launched 5 years ago in Columbus, Ohio to raise money for cancer studies based at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center-Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC-James). The funding is generated by rider-raised contributions and corporate sponsors. Overall, The Pelotonia race has raised $61 million for cancer research at the university since it was established 5 years ago.

“We get more and more riders every year, and the money goes to recruitment, equipment, and research,” says Peter Shields, MD, deputy director of OSUCCC-James. “We're lucky, we're a small enough city that we don't have as much competition from other cancer and medical centers as bigger cities do and people know each other and want to support ‘The James.’”

Other research projects to be funded by idea grants will study:

  1. how social isolation affects the development and progression of breast cancer;
  2. how depression, stress, and psychological factors impact the quality of life for patients with acute myeloid leukemia undergoing treatment with ibrutinib;
  3. whether treatment with decitabine can increase remission rates for patients with acure myeloid leukemia;
  4. whether new drugs that target oncogenes may be effective against liver cancer;
  5. how molecular crosstalk drives aggressive breast cancers;
  6. whether decreasing brain inflammation can reduce depression and anxiety in patients with breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy; and
  7. whether digital image analysis can help develop and improve targeted therapies for glioblastomas.

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More than 6,700 riders covered up to 180 miles in Ohio's Pelotonia bicycle race last summer to raise money for studies into cancer-fighting drugs and therapies.

Alaskan Researcher Explores Plant's Role in Treating Disease

  1. Top of page
  2. New Nanotechnology Method Could Replace Injections for Diabetics
  3. Ohio State Bike Race Funds Novel Ideas in Cancer Research
  4. Alaskan Researcher Explores Plant's Role in Treating Disease
  5. Indianapolis-based Science Center Seeks to Improve Implementation of New Drug Discoveries, Treatments
  6. Collaboration among Academic Research Teams Expected to Advance Clinical, Translational Science Studies

Colin McGill, PhD, has long been interested in devil's club, a native Alaskan prickly weed, as a treatment for a variety of ailments involving inflammation. Now a $50,000 pilot grant from the Mountain West Clinical Translational Research-Infrastructure Network (CTR–IN) will enable him to investigate that connection.

“I find it extraordinarily exciting to evaluate the therapeutic efficacy and mechanism of function of traditionally used Alaskan ethnobotanicals,” says Dr. McGill, an assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA).

Dr. McGill, who was born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska, focuses on the chemical compounds in medicinal plants and how they affect disease. He has collaborated with colleagues to study the therapeutic value of devil's club for rheumatoid arthritis, as well as leukemia.

“We already have some promising preliminary evidence for the antiproliferative and antiinflammatory effects of devil's club in human peripheral mononuclear blood cells (PMBC),” Dr. McGill says. “The first aim is to evaluate its effectiveness at reducing PMBC proliferation and pro-inflammatory secretion in people with rheumatoid arthritis.”

Dr. McGill's project will be supported by one of 19 pilot grants awarded by the Mountain West CTR-IN, which received funding in September 2013 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)'s Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program. The program aims to encourage partnerships between institutions and established clinical and translational centers.

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Dr. Colin McGill will examine the possible therapeutic benefits of a native Alaskan weed in treating rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases.

Indianapolis-based Science Center Seeks to Improve Implementation of New Drug Discoveries, Treatments

  1. Top of page
  2. New Nanotechnology Method Could Replace Injections for Diabetics
  3. Ohio State Bike Race Funds Novel Ideas in Cancer Research
  4. Alaskan Researcher Explores Plant's Role in Treating Disease
  5. Indianapolis-based Science Center Seeks to Improve Implementation of New Drug Discoveries, Treatments
  6. Collaboration among Academic Research Teams Expected to Advance Clinical, Translational Science Studies

The term translational science often applies to bringing drug discoveries from the lab to the clinic, but there is another, equally important application of the term: ensuring that new treatments and best practices actually become adopted, says Anantha Shekhar, MD, PhD, director of the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI) based in Indianapolis.

Helping treatments and best practices get adopted is the goal of the new Center for Innovation and Implementation Science (CIIS) being launched by the Indiana CTSI and the Indiana University (IU) School of Medicine in Indianapolis.

“Even after a drug is approved, it takes another 15 to 17 years before it becomes part of routine medical care,” Dr. Shekhar says. “The implementation gap of already known, good treatments is what is costing our healthcare system.”

CIIS will be one of the first such dedicated centers in the nation, according to Malaz Boustani, MD, associate professor at the IU School of Medicine, who will serve as the center's chief operating officer. CIIS leaders will attempt to reduce costs at several Indiana-based healthcare systems by hiring between 10 and 20 implementation scientists who will help them adopt and apply the newest best treatments and practices.

CIIS will be one of the first such dedicated centers in the nation, according to Malaz Boustani, MD, associate professor at the IU School of Medicine, who will serve as the center's chief operating officer. CIIS leaders will attempt to reduce costs at several Indiana-based healthcare systems by hiring between 10 and 20 implementation scientists who will help them adopt and apply the newest best treatments and practices.

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Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute director Anantha Shekhar is spearheading efforts to help newly approved drug therapies become adopted more quickly into routine medical care.

Collaboration among Academic Research Teams Expected to Advance Clinical, Translational Science Studies

  1. Top of page
  2. New Nanotechnology Method Could Replace Injections for Diabetics
  3. Ohio State Bike Race Funds Novel Ideas in Cancer Research
  4. Alaskan Researcher Explores Plant's Role in Treating Disease
  5. Indianapolis-based Science Center Seeks to Improve Implementation of New Drug Discoveries, Treatments
  6. Collaboration among Academic Research Teams Expected to Advance Clinical, Translational Science Studies

Building on an already existing collaboration between their faculties, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond and Pennsylvania State University in State College have signed an informal agreement to work closely on a variety of health research projects. The memorandum of understanding between the two institutions is built around the National Institutes of Health Clinical Translational Science Award (CTSA). Both VCU and Penn State are among 62 academic research centers nationwide that have received CTSAs.

The goal of the collaboration is to enhance scientific interaction between translational scientists at each institution and potentially advance scientific discoveries faster than either one could do independently, notes Lawrence Sinoway, MD, director, Penn State Clinical and Translational Institute.

“Our collaboration was born out of a desire by both institutions to develop infrastructure and interactions that would allow us to better respond to the evolving landscape of clinical and translational science,” Dr. Sinoway says.

“Our partnership stands as an example and model for how these linkages of researchers through CTSA can create an environment that will help increase the efficiency and speed of clinical and translational research,” says John Clore, MD, director, VCU Center for Clinical and Translational Research.

The two institutions are currently collaborating on several initiatives, including a clinical trial to evaluate the effects of electronic cigarettes on smokers who have decided not to quit smoking, research into familial polycystic ovary syndrome, and development of a statistical model to study research groups and the factors that play a role in their success.

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A clinical trial study on the effects of electronic cigarettes in smokers is underway through a collaboration between Penn State and Virginia Commonwealth University.