Defending Against Microbes
The scientific theme of the Canadian Research Chair in Diabetes and Metabolism is prevention and treatment of diabetes, a major pandemic in Canada, affecting 2.5M people (8%) and costing $14B annually. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, end-stage renal disease, peripheral neuropathy and non-traumatic amputations, and is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke and birth defects. Diabetes reduces life expectancy by up to 10 yrs and profoundly impacts the quality of life of diabetics and their families. There is an urgent need to understand the mechanisms involved in the development of type 2 diabetes (T2D) and find novel strategies for prevention, treatment and cure of both type 1 diabetes (T1D) and T2D.
Dr. Prentki's research program focuses on the molecular mechanisms of glucose regulated insulin secretion in health and T2D. His research is aimed at defining how beta-cells of obese individuals adapt to an excess lipid environment, and how under some circumstances they fail to adapt, resulting in diabetes. He is working on the identification of novel genes for T2D. He is also working to understand the factors involved in beta-cell differentiation and survival in order to advance the novel therapeutic approach of treating T1D through pancreatic islet transplantation and beta cell replacement. Dr. Prentki's research program is yielding information that can be used to design novel therapeutic drugs and methods of treatment for both T2D and T1D.
The applications of this work include modification of our diet to help prevent T2D, inhibit the progression of T1D, and increase islet transplantation success for treating T1D.