Neuroendocrine Unit

Autonomic and Somatic Neuropathy

The Neuroendocrine Unit at the EVMS Strelitz Diabetes Center, directed by Dr. Aaron Vinik, MD, PhD, serves a global authority on autonomic and somatic neuropathy. Diabetic neuropathy (DN) is the leading cause of foot ulcers and amputations in diabetics patients, with an estimated rate of >60,000 non-traumatic amputations per year (CDC). DN is also the leading cause of falls in the elderly.

It is the leading research unit in exploring the pathology and treatments for diabetic neuropathy. It was the first to use immune therapy as a treatment for DN. However, the Unit is not limited to diabetic patients, but also follows those with autoimmune neuropathy. Using novel biological markers and diagnostic evaluations, in conjunction with standard clinical and laboratory diagnostics, the Unit continues to improve and lead in the management of neuropathy.

The Neuroendocrine Unit also serves as a coordinating center for many new therapeutic trials, providing sophisticated diagnostics and partnerships with superb laboratory support.

Neuroendocrine Tumors

In addition, the Unit is a worldwide referral center ‌for ‌patients with neuroendocrine tumors (NETS), and is one of the few centers offering unique expertise for evaluating these tumors and specialized care for NETS patients.

It is crucial to educate physicians, health-care providers and patients about the complexity of NETS and their often-devastating effects on patients’ health. The Neuroendocrine Unit seeks to provide therapy options that will improve patients’ quality of life. Below is a brief overview of NETS.

Facts about Neuroendocrine Tumors (NETS)

  • These tumors are relatively rare, small, and slow-growing.
  • More than 50,000 people live with this disease in the United States, with 2,500 new cases diagnosed each year.
  • Many cases are not discovered until late in the course of the disease.
  • The tumors derive from adult stem cells that are capable of producing a large variety of hormones.
  • They cause a variety of clinical conditions such as flushing, diarrhea, diabetes, heart disease, skin rashes, peptic ulcer disease and hypoglycemia.

A complete discussion of these tumors can be found at, a website that is free to the public and health-care providers.