Diabetes Program | Research & Innovation

Diabetes care in early adulthood

As children mature, they typically take on more responsibility for managing their diabetes. All too often, however, as parents step back and their grown kids take over, there’s a lapse in diabetes care. This can lead to poorly managed blood sugar and hospitalizations, increasing the risk for long-term diabetes complications. Our researchers are looking into ways to improve transitions of care in order to preserve the health of young adults with diabetes.

Using stomach cells to replace insulin

In mouse models, we have successfully converted cells from the stomach and intestine into insulin-producing “mini-stomachs.” When implanted in mice with diabetes, the mini-stomachs produced enough insulin to prevent spikes in blood-sugar levels. We are currently refining this technique with the goal of one day using it to treat children with type 1 diabetes.

Carbohydrates and type 1 diabetes control

Before the discovery of insulin, severe carbohydrate restriction extended the lives of children with type 1 diabetes, sometimes for years. Once insulin was introduced, carbohydrate restriction fell out of practice. We are exploring the possibility that much better control of type 1 diabetes might be achievable through very low-insulin diets.

High-glycemic diets and obesity

We are exploring the possible role of genes in obesity. In one study, our analysis showed that some people produce higher than normal levels of insulin after eating processed carbohydrates such as white bread, potatoes and refined sugar based on their genes. These same people are more likely to be obese, a significant risk factor in developing type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes, surgery and critical care

Critical care and surgery are associated with a variety risks for children with diabetes. Our researchers have investigated the importance of controlling blood sugar in critically ill children to improve outcomes. Further, we have published guidelines for surgeons on special considerations when operating on children with diabetes.

Adjusting insulin Delivery to Activity

We are investigating the feasibility of using activity monitoring data to adjust insulin pump therapy and prevent hypoglycemia.