Scientists awarded $2.4 million to study genetic variation in people with diabetes

April 30th, 2012
A UNC-led team of scientists has received a $2.4 million grant to study genetic variations in people with diabetes.

The goal of the study is to identify genetic variations that may help predict the response to various treatment options for type 2 diabetes to reduce cardiovascular disease, said Dr. John Buse, co-principal investigator and director of the Diabetes Care Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"We hope this work will enable us to target interventions to patients most likely to benefit and least likely to be harmed," Buse said. "The genes containing these variants may also prove to be novel targets for drug development, leading to new medicines for improving outcomes for diabetic patients in the future."

The 4-year grant was awarded by National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (Award Number R01HL110380). This project is one of several in the area of pharmacogenomics and personalized medicine supported by the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences (NC TraCS) Institute, the academic home of NIH's Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) at UNC. The CTSA program aims to improve human health by transforming the research and training environment to enhance the efficiency and quality of clinical and translational research.

Michael Wagner, PhD, research professor in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy is co-principal investigator of the study. Co-investigators are Howard McLeod, PharmD, Fred Eshelman Distinguished Professor of Pharmacogenomics and Individualized Therapy and director of the UNC Institute for Pharmacogenomics and Individualized Therapy (IPIT), and Alison Motsinger-Reif, PhD, assistant professor of statistics at North Carolina State University and adjunct professor in the UNC IPIT.

This study is a follow-up to the ACCORD trial, which found no additional improvement in cardiovascular events in patients treated with intensive diabetes, blood pressure or lipid therapy.

"These failures of seemingly rational treatment approaches could be the result of differential response due to genetic variation," Wagner said. "Our study is aimed at identifying the genetic variations that may be involved."

Provided by University of North Carolina School of Medicine

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