Speeding Up New Treatments with Translational Research

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Throughout the month of August, we will be sharing important milestones from Joslin’s rich history. More than a century after its creation, Joslin continues its legacy as an internationally recognized diabetes treatment and research institution. This month we are celebrating the talented and dedicated individuals who have contributed to and continue to focus on our mission of preventing, treating and curing diabetes.

translational researchIt started with a doctor and a ledger book. Early in his career, Elliott P. Joslin, M.D., observed and recorded the progress of each of his diabetes patients, gaining insights of promising pathways to pursue in the lab, which in turn could be studied in clinical settings, then across patient populations. Embodied in one physician, the cycle of translational diabetes research had begun.

Major progress has been made, but key questions remain: Why do some people get diabetes and others do not? Why do complications emerge, and how can we prevent them? How can we better tailor treatments to unique populations? How can we reach more people? Can we prevent diabetes altogether?

Adding to these challenges, a pandemic of diabetes is now afflicting nearly 26 million people in the United States and 366 million worldwide. Prevalence rates are expected to double by the year 2030.

Joslin is addressing this challenge by creating the Translational Center for the Cure of Diabetes, launched in 2012 by a $5 million gift from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, matched by $5.8 million from private donors—the largest capital infusion in Joslin’s history. The Translational Center will focus on five pivotal areas:

– Nutrition’s remarkable power: In a new research and demonstration kitchen, Joslin will investigate nutrition’s key role in controlling diabetes and advancing wellness.

– Why exercise matters: In a state-of-the art exercise facility, Joslin will develop a premier exercise physiology program, exploring the key role of exercise in managing and preventing diabetes.

– Molecular mysteries of life: Using the power of next-generation sequencing, Joslin will apply this sophisticated laboratory tool to studies of genes and their functions.

– Expanding the biobank: Increasing Joslin’s collection of biological specimens is essential to identifying diabetes survival factors and developing new targets for diagnostic tests and treatments.

– Speeding therapies to patients: By expanding clinical research capacity, Joslin will accelerate the translation of discoveries into improved therapies and possible cures.

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