A National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center

Make an appointment: 800-826-HOPE
Accomplishments Bookmark and Share

Accomplishments in Diabetes Research

City of Hope researchers have built the foundation of scientific knowledge upon which the understanding and treatment of diabetes are based.
 
Engineering synthetic insulin

In the late 1970s,  Arthur Riggs , Ph.D., and Keiichi Itakura, Ph.D., produced synthetic human insulin using bacteria. It became the first genetically engineered product approved by the Food and Drug Administration and today is used worldwide by millions of people with diabetes. The breakthrough made insulin more available and affordable and helped launch the biotechnology industry.
City of Hope researchers have made numerous breakthoughs, including in islet-cell transplantation and in the understanding of islet dysfunction.
 
Perfecting islet transplantation protocols

Fouad Kandeel , M.D., Ph.D., perfected clinical islet-cell transplantation protocols and has developed imaging methods that enable physicians to more monitor in real time the health of islets after transplantation.
 
Targeting diabetic complications

Rama Natarajan , Ph.D., and Jerry Nadler, M.D., conducted research dealing with diabetic complications and islet dysfunction. Their work has led to the identification of novel therapeutic targets and agents for the treatment of diabetic complications. Natarajan was also the first to demonstrate the role of epigenetics in diabetic vascular inflammation and in the metabolic memory phenomenon.

Her laboratory was also the first to demonstrate how microRNAs (small, non-coding RNAs) can cause the overproduction of collagen, which creates damage that can lead to kidney abnormalities and renal dysfunction. She used therapeutic interventions to block these microRNAs, slowing the cells’ harmful overproduction of collagen and other proteins and kidney damage.
 
 
Diagnosing type 1 diabetes sooner

Kevin Ferreri , Ph.D., has developed a new method of diagnosing type 1 diabetes. His research team detected unique markings on the DNA of insulin-producing cells. When these cells die during the progression of type 1 diabetes, the markings can be detected on DNA that circulates in the blood. This method can be used to diagnose type 1 diabetes before complications and can be used to test the effectiveness of new treatments.

To read about more of City of Hope researchers’ accomplishments, including the 1940s discovery by Rachmiel Levine, M.D., of insulin’s role in processing sugars, read our Diabetes Program History page. 
 

Accomplishments

Accomplishments in Diabetes Research

City of Hope researchers have built the foundation of scientific knowledge upon which the understanding and treatment of diabetes are based.
 
Engineering synthetic insulin

In the late 1970s,  Arthur Riggs , Ph.D., and Keiichi Itakura, Ph.D., produced synthetic human insulin using bacteria. It became the first genetically engineered product approved by the Food and Drug Administration and today is used worldwide by millions of people with diabetes. The breakthrough made insulin more available and affordable and helped launch the biotechnology industry.
City of Hope researchers have made numerous breakthoughs, including in islet-cell transplantation and in the understanding of islet dysfunction.
 
Perfecting islet transplantation protocols

Fouad Kandeel , M.D., Ph.D., perfected clinical islet-cell transplantation protocols and has developed imaging methods that enable physicians to more monitor in real time the health of islets after transplantation.
 
Targeting diabetic complications

Rama Natarajan , Ph.D., and Jerry Nadler, M.D., conducted research dealing with diabetic complications and islet dysfunction. Their work has led to the identification of novel therapeutic targets and agents for the treatment of diabetic complications. Natarajan was also the first to demonstrate the role of epigenetics in diabetic vascular inflammation and in the metabolic memory phenomenon.

Her laboratory was also the first to demonstrate how microRNAs (small, non-coding RNAs) can cause the overproduction of collagen, which creates damage that can lead to kidney abnormalities and renal dysfunction. She used therapeutic interventions to block these microRNAs, slowing the cells’ harmful overproduction of collagen and other proteins and kidney damage.
 
 
Diagnosing type 1 diabetes sooner

Kevin Ferreri , Ph.D., has developed a new method of diagnosing type 1 diabetes. His research team detected unique markings on the DNA of insulin-producing cells. When these cells die during the progression of type 1 diabetes, the markings can be detected on DNA that circulates in the blood. This method can be used to diagnose type 1 diabetes before complications and can be used to test the effectiveness of new treatments.

To read about more of City of Hope researchers’ accomplishments, including the 1940s discovery by Rachmiel Levine, M.D., of insulin’s role in processing sugars, read our Diabetes Program History page. 
 
Overview
Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope is responsible for fundamentally expanding the world’s understanding of how biology affects diseases such as cancer, HIV/AIDS and diabetes.
 
 
Research Departments/Divisions

City of Hope is a leader in translational research - integrating basic science, clinical research and patient care.
 

Research Shared Services

City of Hope embodies the spirit of scientific collaboration by sharing services and core facilities with colleagues here and around the world.
 

Our Scientists

Our research laboratories are led by the best and brightest minds in scientific research.
 

City of Hope’s Irell & Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences equips students with the skills and strategies to transform the future of modern medicine.
Develop new therapies, diagnostics and preventions in the fight against cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
 


NEWS & UPDATES
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma facts: Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer that starts in cells called lymphocytes, which are part of the body’s immune system. Lymphocytes are in the lymph nodes and other lymphoid tissues (such as the spleen and bone marrow). Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is one of the most common cancers in the U.S....
  • Few clinical cancer trials include older adults – and yet, more than 60 percent of cancer cases in the United States occur in people age 65 and older. The result is a dearth of knowledge on how to treat the very population most likely to be diagnosed with cancer. Now, the American Society of Clinical […]
  • Scientists at City of Hope and UCLA have become the first to inhibit the expression of a protein, called TWIST that promotes tumor invasion and metastasis when activated by cancer cells. As such, they’ve taken the first step in developing a potential new therapy for some of the deadliest cancers, including ovar...
  • Upon completing her final round of chemotherapy for ovarian cancer earlier this month, Maria Velazquez-McIntyre, a 51-year-old Antelope Valley resident, celebrated the milestone by giving other patients a symbol of hope – a Survivor Bell. The bell may look ordinary, but for cancer patients undergoing chemothera...
  • Many Americans understand that obesity is tied to heart disease and diabetes but, according to a new survey, too few – only 7 percent – know that obesity increases the risk of cancer. Specific biological characteristics can increase cancer risk in obese people, and multiple studies have shown correlations betwe...
  • As breast cancer survivors know, the disease’s impact lingers in ways both big and small long after treatment has ended. A new study suggests that weight gain – and a possible corresponding increase in heart disease and diabetes risk – may be part of that impact. In the first study to evaluate weight chan...
  • Becoming what’s known as an independent scientific researcher is no small task, especially when working to translate research into meaningful health outcomes. Yet that independent status is vital, enabling researchers to lead studies and avenues of inquiry that they believe to be promising. Clinicians, especial...
  • 720 days. That’s how long Alex Tung, 38, had to give up surfing after being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. For most people, even some surfers, such a hiatus wouldn’t be a big deal, but for Tung, surfing has been everything. The Southern California resident began surfing when he was in elemen...
  • There are few among us who have not experienced loss of a friend or loved one, often without warning, or like those of us who care for people with cancer, after a lingering illness. It is a time when emotions run high and deep, and as time passes from the moment of loss, we often […]
  • For the past four years, neurosurgeon and scientist Rahul Jandial, M.D., Ph.D., has been studying how breast cancer cells spread, or metastasize, to the brain, where they become life-threatening tumors. Known as secondary brain tumors, these cancers have become increasingly common as treatment advances have ena...
  • Cutaneous T cell lymphomas are types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that arise when infection-fighting white blood cells in the lymphatic system – called lymphocytes – become malignant and affect the skin. A primary symptom is a rash that arises initially in areas of the skin that are not normally exposed to sunlight....
  • There’s science camp, and then there’s “mystery” science camp. City of Hope’s new science camp for middle school students is of the especially engaging latter variety. From Monday, July 13, to Friday, July 17, rising middle-school students from across the San Gabriel Valley were presented with a “patient” with ...
  • Women diagnosed with breast cancer quickly learn their tumor’s type, meaning the characteristics that fuel its growth. That label guides the treatment of their disease, as well as their prognosis when it comes to treatment effectiveness. Sometimes, however, doctors can’t accurately predict treatment effectivene...
  • In years past, Bladder Cancer Awareness Month has been a sobering reminder of a disease with few treatment options. For patients with metastatic disease (disease that has spread from the bladder to distant organs), average survival is typically just over one year. Fortunately, things are changing. Academic inst...
  • Tina Wang was diagnosed with Stage 4 diffuse large b cell lymphoma at age 22. She first sought treatment at her local hospital, undergoing two cycles of treatment. When the treatment failed to eradicate her cancer, she came to City of Hope. Here, Wang underwent an autologous stem cell transplant and participate...