Diabetes researcher receives CIT grant to support potential treatment for Type 1 disease

Story Date: Thu, 12 Dec 2013 16:32:00 CST

An EVMS physician-scientist studying new treatments for diabetes is among 14 researchers from across Virginia to receive funding from the Center for Innovative Technology.

Yumi Imai, MD, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, will receive $100,000 to support her study of a new combination treatment for Type 1 diabetes.

In Type 1 diabetes, immune cells mistake beta cells as harmful and kill them. Beta cells are the body’s only cells that produce insulin, so patients with Type 1 disease must inject insulin to stay alive.

“There are two challenges for the treatment of type 1 diabetes,” Dr. Imai says. “One is to stop immune cells from attacking beta cells. The second is to proliferate beta cells to regain enough number of beta cells.”

The research tests a new combination of the compounds 12 lipoxygenase inhibitor and betatrophin. While the 12 lipoxygenase inhibitor protects the beta cells from the marauding immune cells, the betatrophin encourages the beta cells to regrow.

The research is collaborative work undertaken with Jerry Nadler, MD, Vice Dean for Research, Chair of Internal Medicine and the Harry H. Mansbach Chair in Internal Medicine.

The CIT grant comes from the state Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund (CRCF), which is designed to advance targeted areas of research with commercial promise.

A list of all current and previous grant recipients is available at http://www.cit.org/initiatives/crcf-awards/.

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