Defeating Diabetes

Dr. Jeremic
A look at GW's leaders in the fight against diabetes
November 18, 2016

November is National Diabetes month. Almost 26 million people in the US have Diabetes, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And, there are nearly 79 million more at risk of developing it.  A person is considered diabetic when their blood sugar levels are too high as a result of their pancreas not making enough insulin (type 1 diabetes), or an inability of their body to make use of the insulin that is produced (type 2 diabetes).[2]  The alarming, and steadily increasing, number of people with this disease has called many into action to help fight it. Some of the strongest fighters against diabetes are here in DC at The George Washington University.

A champion in this fight is GW Biology Department’s own professor and researcher, Dr. Aleksandar Jeremic. With the help of a grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Dr. Jeremic researches the biological causes of diabetes, hoping to one day find a cure for this potentially deadly disease. The focus of his research is on a protein called amylin, which is produced by pancreatic β-cells that are also responsible for the production of insulin. The role of amylin in the human body is not well known or studied because it was only discovered in the 1987; however, it is known that it plays an important role in regulating glucose. Dr. Jeremic believes that if the production, function, and mechanism of action is fully studied and understood, amylin could be synthesized, and/or the destruction of pancreatic β-cells can be stopped. Thus, making a more effective diabetes treatments available.

With the continued support of NIH and HHS, Dr. Jeremic’s research aims to fill the knowledge gap between what we know about the function and signaling pathway of insulin and that of amylin. By doing this, diabetes will be better understood and we will be a step closer to a cure.  And, with continued strides in research, November can instead become the month we celebrate a victory in the fight against diabetes.

[1] National Library of Medicine. (2016, October 27). Diabetes. Retrieved November 13, 2016, from https://medlineplus.gov/diabetes.html

[2] "Number of Americans with Diabetes Rises to Nearly 26 Million." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ed. CDC. CDC., 26 Jan. 2011. Web. 12 Nov. 2016.

 

By Justin Butera, GW '17