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Archive - Jun 2012

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June 12th

Liquid Glucagon Formulation Discovered for Potential Use in Artificial Pancreas Systems

JDRF-funded researchers at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) and Legacy Health have discovered a liquid glucagon formulation that may be usable in standard diabetes pumps. Such a formulation could broaden the use of glucagon to help prevent hypoglycemia in people with type 1 diabetes (T1D) who are treated with insulin. It could also open a path to future-generation artificial pancreas systems that dispense more than just insulin for optimizing glucose control. "Our previous studies have shown that the injections of small amounts of glucagon prevent hypoglycemia, which is a frequent and serious complication of type 1 diabetes that can lead to seizures, loss of consciousness, and even death," said W. Kenneth Ward, M.D., associate professor of medicine (endocrinology, diabetes, and clinical nutrition) at OHSU School of Medicine and senior scientist at Legacy Health, the two Portland, Oregon-based organizations that collaborated on the study. The research was presented at the American Diabetes Association's (ADA) 72nd Scientific Sessions on Friday, June 8, 2012 and on Sunday, June 10, 2012 in Philadelphia. Dr. Ward continues: "Current forms of glucagon cannot be kept for long periods of time in a portable pump, and therefore could not be used as part of an artificial pancreas system.

June 4th

Possible Cellular Bases for Link Between Aging and Increased Risk of Breast Cancer

It is well-known that the risks of breast cancer increase dramatically for women over the age of 50, but what takes place at the cellular level to cause this increase has been a mystery. Some answers and the possibility of preventative measures in the future are provided in a new study by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). Dr. Mark LaBarge, a cell and molecular biologist in Berkeley Lab’s Life Sciences Division, led a study in which it was determined that aging causes an increase in multipotent progenitors – a type of adult stem cell believed to be at the root of many breast cancers – and a decrease in the myoepithelial cells that line the breast’s milk-producing luminal cells and are believed to serve as tumor suppressors. “This is a big step towards understanding the cellular basis for age-related vulnerability to breast cancer,” Dr. LaBarge says. “Now that we have defined some of the cell and molecular changes that occur in the epithelium during the aging process and we have the ability to assay them functionally, it should be possible to look for ways to avoid those states and perhaps even reverse them.” Dr. LaBarge is the corresponding author of a paper published online on May 2, 2012 in Cancer Research describing this study. Each year, more than 200,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and about 75 percent of those women are older than 50. Age-related physiological changes, including endocrine profiles and alterations of the microenvironments surrounding breast cells, have been associated with increased cancer risks, but the underlying cellular mechanisms behind these changes and their links to cancer have not been explained.