Bridge to the Cure recipients

Julien Sebag, PhD
Calvin Carter, Postdoctoral Scholar

Join us in congratulating DRC member Julien Sebag, PhD and Postdoctoral Scholar, Calvin Carter on recieving a Bridge to the Cure award!

Bridge to the Cure awards are designed to support research that has a strong potential for moving discoveries towards potential therapies for diabetes and its complications. The support has been made possible by an ongoing commitment of the Fraternal Order of Eagles (FOE) to support the mission of the FOEDRC.

Julien Sebag, Associate Professor in the Department of Moleuclar Physiology amd Biophysics recieved the Bridge to the Cure award to focus on his project titled, “Development of small molecule enhancers of Insulin-stimulated GLUT4 translocation for the treatment of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes”. Sebag explains that Type II diabetes mellitus is caused by the inability of insulin to clear sugar from the circulation. In healthy people, activation of the insulin receptor in glucose storing tissues like skeletal muscle and fat, promotes the translocation of the glucose transporter GLUT4 to the surface of those cells to remove glucose from the blood and transport it into storage cells. In type II diabetes, GLUT4 fails to properly localize in response to insulin, thus preventing glucose removal from the blood. Using a new luciferase complementation technology, we developed a high throughput assay that allows the measurement of GLUT4 translocation in muscle cells and in mice. Through the screening of 50,000 molecules using this assay, we identify several new insulin sensitizers. The goal of this project is to optimize those molecules into lead compounds for the development of a new treatment for type II diabetes and determine their mode of action at the molecular level.

Calvin Carter, postdoctoral scholar will be using the grant to investigate on his project titled, “A non-invasive insulin sensitizer“. Nearly 10% of the world’s adult population will have diabetes within the next decade. Unfortunately, many will fail therapy despite the myriad of available treatment options, resulting in a 50% higher risk of early death. The primary cause of treatment failure in diabetes is poor adherence. Simply put, it is challenging for most patients to consistently take their medication as prescribed due to side effects and inconvenience. There is an urgent need for innovative solutions that simplify diabetes management to improve patient outcomes. To solve these challenges, we propose to use electromagnetic fields (EMFs) for the wireless management of type 2 diabetes (T2D). EMFs are an attractive treatment because unlike traditional therapies, EMFs are noninvasive, painless and capable of delivering therapy to specific regions of the body, mitigating side effects. We recently demonstrated that this approach can normalize blood glucose levels in diabetic mice. In this proposal, we will test this innovative approach by employing a large animal (pig) model  of diabetes to determine the safety and efficacy profile of an EMF based treatment for T2D. Findings from this proposal will serve as supporting material to achieve the goal of developing an energy-based treatment for T2D.

The total award is $325,000 per grantee. Initial funding is $125,000 for the first 6 months of the award. A second award of $125,000 will be released at 6-months pending satisfactory progress and a favorable review by an external advisory committee and approval by the board of the F.O.E. Charity Foundation. A final award of $75,000 is available with similar stipulations and will be available at the end of the first year of the award.

The FOEDRC  has assembled an external advisory committee that is tasked with reviewing the progress, providing intellectual support and guidance towards meeting expected milestones and with making a recommendation to the F.O.E. foundation regarding future funding of each project.

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