October 2015 Staff News in Brief

Bergman to Deliver Alexander Marble Lectures in Boston

Richard Bergman, PhD, director of the Cedars-Sinai Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute and professor of Biomedical Sciences, has been invited to deliver the 2016 Alexander Marble Lectureship on Diabetes at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston on May 19. Joslin is an independent, nonprofit institution that undertakes diabetes research, clinical care, education and health and wellness programs on a global scale. It is affiliated with Harvard Medical School. The annual lectureship is named after the first director of research at Joslin. Bergman will deliver two lectures related to translating research from the laboratory to clinical medicine — one at the center and the other as part of the Medical Grand Rounds series at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. "My lab’s research has had a significant effect on diabetes research in practice — much related to the prediction of Type 2 diabetes," said Bergman. "We are indeed very proud of the recognition of our work, and we are thrilled that it has helped reduce the suffering of patients with diabetes and their families."

Bloom Honored by Surgical Association

Matthew Bloom, MD, associate director of trauma services and assistant professor in the Department of Surgery, was honored by the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma, a leading scholarly organization for surgeons dedicated to the field of trauma and the care of critically ill surgical patients. At the association's annual meeting in Las Vegas in September, Bloom was presented with the Peter C. Canizaro Award, which recognizes the best paper by a new association member. In his paper, Bloom examined the development of thrombocytopenia, a persistent decrease in blood platelets, in patients treated with heparin in intensive care units. Patients who develop this condition have an immune reaction to heparin that may progress to forming blood clots in their veins or arteries. Bloom found a link between obesity and higher risk for this condition and described the increased severity of thrombocytopenia among overweight patients.

Clinical Trial on Cushing's Disease Funded

Investigators at Cedars-Sinai have been awarded a grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases to conduct a pilot, Phase II clinical trial of R-roscovitine (seliciclib), a small molecule CDK inhibitor. They will test the drug, currently in clinical development to treat certain cancers, as a potential therapy for Cushing's disease. This is a condition in which a pituitary corticotroph tumor overproduces the adrenocorticotropin hormone, which stimulates the adrenal glands to make too much cortisol. The trial will assess the safety and efficacy of R-roscovitine in patients with newly diagnosed, persistent or recurrent Cushing's disease, which can be fatal if left untreated. "There is clearly a medical need for safe and effective pharmacotherapy directly targeting corticotroph tumors," said the study director, Ning-Ai Liu, MD, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism. She said she hopes that the trial's outcome will serve as a basis for a Phase III clinical trial of R-roscovitine for treatment of Cushing's disease.

Clegg Co-Authors Review on Diabetes

Cedars-Sinai researcher Deborah Clegg, PhD, co-authored a review article on acid-base balance disturbances that are common in patients with diabetes. The article, which Clegg wrote with Biff F. Palmer, MD, of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, was published in the Aug. 6 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. It covers the pathophysiology of electrolyte disturbances and provides case studies to help illustrate the critical points. "This review is a synthesis of the most up-to-date information on how best to care for patients with diabetes who present with imbalances in their electrolytes," said Clegg, a professor of Biomedical Sciences in the Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute. "It can assist physicians in knowing how best to care for patients with diabetes."