UTHSC scientists awarded $2M grant for diabetes research

UTHSC gets $2M grant for diabetes research

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Scientists at the UT Health Science Center in Memphis are hoping a $2 million grant will help them with a potential medical breakthrough.

Their research could make a major difference in the treatment of diabetes, a huge problem here in the Mid-South.

Still hard at work, scientists at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s College of Medicine are celebrating a $1.98 million grant from the National Institute of Health for diabetes research.

"It’s great to be able to get the funding to do this work,” said Dr. Darryl Quarles, UTHSC associate dean for research. “We have great plans.”

“This grant is not easy to get,” said Dr. Lu Lu, UTHSC professor of genetics. “Two million dollars, that is high competition.”

The research for the grant will center around a protein receptor named GPRC6A.

“It has a unique biologic profile that is different,” said Dr. Quarles.

Dr. Quarles discovered the protein could potentially be a major contributor to the regulation of metabolism and in turn, affect diabetes and other metabolic issues.

After several years of research using mice specimen, Dr. Quarles and Dr. Lu Lu believe they could be on the path to a breakthrough on how we understand and treat type 2 diabetes in adults and other metabolic conditions.

“It would be a drug that would do what many other drugs on the market do separately, this would do it together in a coordinated fashion,” Dr. Quarles said. “That would be the perfect outcome.”

This research is still in its infancy, but if their hypothesis is correct, in about 15 years, this research and stimulating protein GPRC6A may help regulate glucose, fat metabolism and much more.

“It’s too early to tell, but that’s why we’re pursuing the research,” Dr. Quarles said.

The goal is creating new, more effective drugs for diabetes treatment, a major problem in the Mid-South.

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