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University of Iowa News Release

 

Oct. 6, 2006

UI Researcher Receives Funding For Diabetes Research

Eva Tsalikian, M.D., a physician with Children's Hospital of Iowa within University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, announced today that she will help conduct an important research trial that may help people diagnosed with diabetes better control the levels of glucose (sugar) in their blood.

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) is funding leading researchers from around the world to assess new diabetes technologies and help accelerate their availability for patients. The first year's funding for this multi-year research program exceeds $5.5 million.

Tsalikian, who also is a professor of pediatrics in the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, and her research team will test the effectiveness of continuous glucose monitors. The technology reads glucose levels on a minute-by-minute basis using a small sensor that is inserted under the skin and continuously transmits data to a hand-held device.

"These devices not only provide actual glucose readings, but tell a patient whether a glucose level is trending upwards or downward," Tsalikian said. "Patients can adjust insulin dosing and carbohydrate intake to maintain control of blood sugar levels."

"We believe that the new continuous glucose sensors will dramatically improve the ability of people with type 1 diabetes to control the wide fluctuations of glucose levels that, over time, lead to severe complications like heart attacks, kidney failure, amputations and blindness," said Richard Insel, M.D., JDRF executive vice president for research. "These grants will help us better understand and quantify the benefits of technology-enabled glucose control and take a big step towards an artificial pancreas."

The continuous glucose monitoring research trial will be conducted in tandem with a project to develop an artificial pancreas. In order to expedite the availability of this rapidly emerging technology for people with type 1 diabetes, JDRF launched the JDRF Artificial Pancreas Project in late 2005. Through research and advocacy, the JDRF project aims to speed regulatory approval, health insurance coverage and clinician adoption of promising new artificial pancreas technologies.

The Continuous Glucose Sensor Human Clinical Trial will involve eight other research centers, each using the same clinical protocol. The sites will test the effectiveness of sensors in various populations (including children and adults of various ethnic and socioeconomic groups) and different health care settings (including specialty diabetes care, managed care and publicly funded clinics). The trial will specifically investigate whether continuous glucose sensors have a direct impact on better glycemic control, reduced HbA1c levels, and hypoglycemia. But it will also explore the impact of sensors on other aspects of diabetes care, such as quality of life issues, for the children using the devices, as well as their parents.

The JDRF was founded in 1970 by the parents of children with juvenile diabetes - a disease that strikes children suddenly, makes them insulin dependent for life and carries the constant threat of devastating complications. Since its inception, JDRF has provided more than $1 billion to diabetes research worldwide. More than 80 percent of JDRF's expenditures directly support research and education about research. JDRF's mission is constant: to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research.

STORY SOURCE: Joint Office for Marketing and Communications, University of Iowa Health Care, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room E110 GH, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Moore, 319-356-3945, thomas-moore@uiowa.edu.