Division of Developmental and Translational Diabetes and Endocrine Research

The Division of Developmental and Translational Diabetes and Endocrine Research, directed by Fouad Kandeel, M.D., Ph.D., has translated landmark scientific discoveries into treatments that have improved the lives of diabetic patients around the world.  The expansion of the Leslie & Susan Gonda (Goldschmied) Diabetes & Genetic Research Center has enabled us to bolster our efforts in the fight against diabetes simultaneously on multiple fronts:  from developmental research starting in our state-of-the-art laboratories to clinical investigations leading to innovative patient care. 
Fouad Kandeel, M.D., Ph.D., directs
the Division of Developmental and
Translational Diabetes and
Endocrine Research.

Our approach
Our goal is to bring the latest scientific findings into medical practice as quickly as possible. Researchers in our division conduct  laboratory, translational and clinical research with the goal of improving our understanding of the disease process and guiding the development of new diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic interventions.
Here, we focus on stem cell biology and development, translational immunology, islet isolation and distribution, islet quality assessment, islet imaging, islet encapsulation and isolation, and new drug discoveries.
We are also developing a mobile device that combines a live glucose monitor with an automatic insulin delivery pump system. This “artificial pancreas” will free patients from periodic self-monitoring, as well as allow more accurate control of blood glucose levels. City of Hope researchers are working with the device manufacturer to optimize performance, and preparations are being made to test the device in newly transplanted islet recipients in order to provide maximum protection of islets from the harmful effects of high blood sugar.

Imaging islet cells within the body is greatly needed to elucidate the mechanisms underlying type 1 diabetes development and monitor islet cells following transplant. New cell-imaging approaches developed at City of Hope have been used to track islet cell survival and function in animal models and have been successfully applied in a human case of pancreatic tumor.
City of Hope Islet Cell Transplant Program
City of Hope is studying the
safety and effectiveness of
transplanting islet cells
as a treatment for
type 1 diabetes.
City of Hope is conducting clinical trials to study the safety and effectiveness of  islet transplantation as a treatment for type 1 diabetes. City of Hope performed its first islet transplantation in 2004 and performed dozens more in the Islet Transplantation Alone and Islet After Kidney Transplantation trials. The current T cell-depleting trial will help answer the question of whether temporarily reducing or eliminating the recipient’s T cells at the time of islet transplantation will improve short- and long-term transplant results in patients with type 1 diabetes. The study also includes an assessment for changes in the quality of life after islet transplantation.
To qualify for the study, candidates must have type 1 diabetes, be between the ages of 18 and 68, and have the ability and willingness to comply with a post-transplant regimen that includes taking immunosuppression medications, frequent clinic visits and laboratory testing, using reliable contraception, maintaining detailed records of blood glucose levels, insulin doses, medications and completing detailed follow-up studies for up to five years.
Candidates who have received a prior kidney transplant for diabetic kidney failure may also participate in the study, if they have a stable kidney transplant for at least three months on specific commonly used anti-rejection medications. 

For clinical transplant matters you may contact us by calling (866) 44 ISLET (47538) or e-mail us at islets@coh.org.
Global diabetes health initiative

There is a global need for a cost-effective solution to simplify diabetes management and minimize time spent on expensive and unstructured treatment plans. This solution must simultaneously improve patient participation in behavior modification and medication regimes. 
The center's physicians and scientists, led by Fouad Kandeel, M.D., are collaborating with diabetes scientists and clinicians in Europe to develop a fully automated patient-management system that can be utilized on a global scale. 
The ADAMS (Adaptive Diabetes Algorithm Managements System) platform is software that is designed to generate an automated, interventional treatment plan tailored to each patient.  It takes into account culturally relevant dietary and behavioral issues and has the potential to streamline the efficiency of diabetes care around the world.
Each year, City of Hope hosts an annual diabetes and obesity symposium in memory of the late Dr. Rachmiel Levine, the scientist responsible for clarifying the nature of insulin action.
The 14th Annual Rachmiel Levine Symposium, entitled "Advances in Diabetes Research," will cover recent scientific advances in  type 1 and type 2 diabetes and will highlight results of recent diabetes clinical trials.
It will also include poster sessions where promising young investigators can present their work, and debate sessions with world leaders in areas of controversy in diabetes research and clinical care.
City of Hope researchers including  Rama Natarajan, Ph.D., director of the Division of Molecular Diabetes Research, have been selected to speak at the symposium.
The event is scheduled for March 12 – 15, 2014, in Pasadena.
Team members

Researchers and clinicians at City of Hope are engaged in ongoing communication and interaction to bring work from the lab to the bedside. Meet the researchers in the Division of Developmental & Translational Diabetes and Endocrine Research:
Fouad Kandeel , M.D., Ph.D. -  division director and professor
Islet cell transplantation

Ismail Al-Abdullah , Ph.D. - research professor
Islet cell isolation

Sanjay Awasthi , M.D. - professor
Diabetes and cancer

Kevin Ferreri , Ph.D. - associate research professor
Islet cell transplantation, epigenetics, and diabetic biomarkers

H. Teresa Ku , Ph.D. - associate professor
Stem cell therapy for type 1 diabetes; in vitro differentiation of human and mouse embryonic stem cells towards pancreatic lineage cells; identification, purification and characterization of embryonic and adult pancreatic stem/progenitor cells

Yoko Mullen , M.D., Ph.D. - research professor
Extrahepatic islet transplantation; prevention of islet loss for transplantation

Ivan Todorov , Ph.D. - associate research professor
Islet cell proliferation, differentiation and cryopreservation; aging in the human pancreas