Each year, the Association funds some of Canada’s most renowned scientists and physicians in their fight against diabetes. Here is a closer look at two of our previously-funded researchers.
Tracking proteins: Determining the role of Nck in the development of insulin resistance
In 2007-2010, Dr. Louise Larose, a researcher at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, received a CDA operating grant to explore the role of the protein Nck in the development of insulin resistance, diabetes, and cancer in mice.
She and her team were trying to determine if the protein Nck helps to protect individuals from developing insulin resistance, or if it contributes to it. To do this, Dr. Larose and her team used mice, which do not express Nck, and fed them a diet that created high levels of metabolic stress. The team then monitored the markers of glucose control in the mice and noted the effects.
They wished to examine how this protein functions at the tissue level. To do this, they first observed how the tissue functions with the protein and then removed the protein from the same tissue to observe how the tissue functions without the protein. Dr. Larose and her team also examined the tissue’s ability to cope with metabolic stress in both situations, in order to determine the role that this protein plays in glucose control.
Dr. Larose and her colleagues were pleasantly surprised by their results, and hope that at some point in the future, they will be able to move into studies with humans. Dr. Larose is hopeful that her work will eventually lead to new and better therapies for people with insulin resistance.
Giving patients a voice: Searching for answers through experience
In 2009-2010, researcher Judith M. Rashotte received a CDA operating grant to give adolescent patients a voice by conducting conversational interviews with both parents and adolescents about their unique experiences living with continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (CSII) pumps and REAL-time continuous glucose monitors (RT CGM).
“Most research studies do not give a voice to people living the experience, but rather make assumptions about what a patient values in their lives,” said Rashotte, Director Nursing Research, and Knowledge Transfer Consultant at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) in Ottawa. “For this study, we wanted to hear the patient’s voice. We wanted to share, through stories, what it is like to live through an experience.”
Rashotte, along with members of her team, developed four questions about sensor-augmented pump therapy that they used to guide interviews with five to 10 adolescents (12 to 17 years of age) living with type 1 diabetes who had experience (current or past) living with sensor augmented pump therapy. They also used similar questions in interviews with five to 10 parents.
The team hopes their study will not only enhance the understanding of adolescent and parent experiences using sensor augmented pump therapy, but also increase the sensitivity of healthcare providers so that they can help patients make better informed decisions about whether or not to initiate sensor augmented pump therapy. A better understanding of the personal experience of this diabetes management technology will help to identify the support needed by adolescents and their families.
© 2012 Copyright Canadian Diabetes Association