Posts Tagged ‘diabetes’

The bacterial industrial revolution

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 08-31-2011

George Church, the talented genetic professor, has made headlines once again. We are very fond of George Church and have written about him and his work several times in the past (see: George Church: The Father of Personalized Genomics, New tools for rewriting the code of life and A Scientific Legend’s Approach to Solving Problems and Developing Technologies).

The latest article, appearing in The Boston Globe, talks about Dr. Church’s approach to synthetic biology and his “broad brush” approach of editing bacterial genomes to devise powerful new technologies.

To read more click here. H/T to Genomeweb for the find.

Money available for studying Diabetes

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 08-10-2011

GenomeWeb News is reporting that the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases will award up to $15 million next year in grants to fund Diabetes Research Centers that will conduct a range of ‘omics-based and other interdisciplinary and translational research efforts.

Click here for more.

Multiplexing Bio-Plex Pro Diabetes and Cytokine Assays

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 07-01-2010

In a previous post we introduced Bio-Rad’s Bio-Plex Pro Diabetes and Cytokine assays and mentioned how one of the biggest advantages that the kit offers to researchers is the ability to multiplex cytokine and diabetes biomarkers in one tube. In the attached tech note: Multiplexing Compatibility of the Bio-Plex Pro Diabetes and Cytokine Assays: Human and Mouse Panels, Zimmerman et al. demonstrate the compatibility of 40 human cytokine assays with all 10 human diabetes assays and 32 mouse cytokine assays with all 8 mouse diabetes assays. The data includes an analysis of sensitivity, specificity and accuracy with limits of detection as low as 0.1pg/ml for several cytokine and diabetes biomarkers.

Multiplexing Compatibility of the Bio-Plex Pro Diabetes and Cytokine Assays: Human and Mouse Panels

Multiplex Analysis of Diabetes and Cytokine Biomarker Expression

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 06-25-2010

Bio-Rad Laboratories recently announced the launch of 2 multiplex bead array panels for scientist engaged in Diabetes research. The assays are for the detection of 8 mouse and 10 human biomarkers of diabetes and obesity and can be run on Bio-Rad’s Bio-Plex instrument (or other Luminex based platforms).

The Bio-Plex Pro Diabetes Assays only require 12.5 ug of sample and will produce accurate and sensitive results in under 3 hours.

In recognition of the important role that cytokines play in the progression of diabetes, Bio-Rad has ensured that the Bio-Plex Pro Diabetes Assay is fully compatible with its Bio-Plex Pro cytokine, chemokine and growth factor assays. Now diabetes researchers can perform a multi-plex analysis in order to quantify the most important diabetes biomarkers AND cytokine, chemokine and growth factor expression from just 12.5 ug of sample…all in the same tube! This is a huge benefit to any diabetes researcher as it helps eliminate inter-experimental variability that can arise when quantifying analytes from different aliquots of the same sample.

The Bio-Plex Pro Mouse Diabetes Assay includes a multiplex analysis of Ghrelin, GIP, GLP-1, glucagon, insulin, leptin, PAI-1 and Resistin. The Bio-Plex Pro Human Diabetes Assay quantifies levels of c-peptide, visfatin, ghrelin, GIP, GLP-1, glucagon, insulin, leptin, PAI-1 and Resistin in your 12.5 ul sample.

See the Bio-Plex Pro Mouse Diabetes Assay and the
Bio-Plex Pro Human Diabetes Assay brochures from Bio-Rad Laboratories for more information on ordering options and assay parameters including sensitivity, cross-reactivity, assay range and specificity.

Linking Diabetes and Cancer: Where’s the Evidence?

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 06-21-2010

If you’ve been following the Diabetes news lately, you likely noticed that two stories have dominated the news over the last couple of days. The first is a widely published study that implicates the consumption of white rice (as opposed to brown rice) in increased incidents of diabetes and the second relates to emerging evidence linking diabetes and cancer. According to a recent report published by Giovannucci et al in CA (A Cancer Journal for Clinicians), despite there being a high degree of epidemiologic evidence linking cancer and diabetes the biological mechanism linking the two diseases is poorly understood.

Considering that both of these diseases are highly prevalent among the world’s population one needs to ask why, if indeed there is a biological link between the two diseases, it has not been studied as of yet. Could it be that scientists are so focused on their particular field of interest that they are ignoring the “bigger scientific picture?” Or perhaps the grant-funding mechanism is biased towards individual diseases thereby influencing researchers to channel their efforts on one disease at a time. The fact that we commonly measure research funding by discipline seems to support this segregated approach. According to the NIH’s Estimates of Funding for Various Research, Condition, and Disease Categories (RCDC), Cancer is the third most funded disease category in the United States and is expected to receive over $6 Billion dollars in funding in 2011. This is compared to $2 billion for the study of cardiovascular disease and $1 billion for the study of diabetes. Scientists applying for grant funding must surely consider the availability of cash prior to beginning the grant writing process (imagine how hard it must be to receive funding for the study of Paget’s Disease which only receives $1 million per year in grant funding) and would be wise to pay homage to the source of their funding when considering the focus of their research publications. After all, if a scientist received funding from the American Diabetes Association, should we expect their research efforts to focus more on diabetes or cancer? If all of their publications detailed the molecular mechanisms of Alzheimer’s Disease how likely would it be for the ADA to renew the researcher’s grant funding? So the question remains: does this type of silo-ed approach to funding bias against valuable inter-disciplinary research?

Taking a less sinister approach, it is possible that the paucity of studies linking biological mechanisms in diabetes and cancer is due to the fact that the connection is not as obvious as it may seem. According to Giovannucci, Cancer and diabetes are diagnosed within the same individual more frequently than would be expected by chance. Nonetheless, both diseases are complex, with multiple subtypes and therefore it would be difficult to find a generic link between the two diseases. Moreover, as highlighted in Table 1 of the study, diabetes is associated with an increased risk of some cancers (liver, pancreas, endometrium, colon/rectum, breast, and bladder), a reduced risk of others (such as prostate cancer) and no association at all with other forms of cancer. Yet many questions still remain. Are the associations that have been observed direct or indirect? Does diabetes increase the risk of cancer or do they simply share common risk factors? These questions are compounded by the fact that there are multiple categorizations for both diseases (there are more than 50 subtypes of cancer alone) making it rather difficult to point to a link between what we broadly term as “cancer” and “diabetes.”

Despite coming out with a joint statement encouraging inter-disciplinary studies, The American Cancer Society and the American Diabetes Association discourage studies exploring links between diabetes and risk of all cancers combined. They explain this caveat using the example that because lung cancer does not appear to be meaningfully linked with diabetes, including this common cancer in studies will dilute observed associations, should they exist.

According to the joint statement the consensus seems to be that future studies should focus on uncovering potential biological links between the two diseases and that research should focus particularly on the following questions:

Is there a meaningful association between diabetes and cancer incidence or prognosis?
What risk factors are common to both cancer and diabetes?
What are possible biologic links between diabetes and cancer risk?
And do diabetes treatments influence cancer risk or cancer prognosis?

Whether the lack of information on biological links between diabetes and cancer has been due to a myopic view of diabetes and cancer researchers, a biased model of research funding or the difficulty in discerning connections between two very complex pathologies (I tend to subscribe to this last statement), it is clear that the statement of the American Cancer Society and the American Diabetes Association will help set the way for much needed inter-disciplinary research in the years to come.

Giovannucci, E., Harlan, D., Archer, M., Bergenstal, R., Gapstur, S., Habel, L., Pollak, M., Regensteiner, J., & Yee, D. (2010). Diabetes and Cancer: A Consensus Report CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians DOI: 10.3322/caac.20078