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production to diabetics also moved forward this year when NIDDK grantees
successfully used the thymus of rats as a new site for transplanting insulin
With this approach, they enhanced both immune tolerance to
grafts at other sites and graft survival.
Progress is also being made in understanding non-insulin-dependent
Glucose transport mechanisms are emerging as a major new target for
potential treatment of this disease.
Studies in animals are defining more
precisely the cascade of molecular events involved in the production and
action of insulin, in order to pinpoint how resistance to insulin occurs.
related research, scientists have identified the cell receptor that binds
drugs used to treat non-insulin-dependent diabetes, thus paving the way for
more effective drug development.
A key source of knowledge about the
metabolic abnormalities and complications of non-insulin-dependent diabetes
are NIDDK studies of the Pima Indians, who have the world's highest prevalence
of this disease.
Applicable to both forms of diabetes are studies on the genetic
components of this disease.
Research clues are helping to narrow the search
for the diabetes genes.
Gene mapping strategies are bearing their first
fruits of success with the identification of a linkage of a genetic locus in a
rare form of non-insulin-dependent diabetes.
The genetic puzzle of diabetes
remains a complex challenge, however.
To help meet this challenge, I am
pleased to tell you that the Institute will begin a new Diabetes
Interdisciplinary Research Program in 1992 in an innovative par
the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, International.
This follows a productive
partnership previously established with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
For kidney and urologic diseases research, I am pleased to report several
exciting scientific events.
With NIDDK grant support, kidney researchers have
made inroads in understanding polycystic kidney disease (PKD), in which cyst
formation can impair and destroy kidney function. Recently, NIDDK grantees
discovered that the combined action of two known growth-promoting chemicals
can initiate cyst formation.
This finding has already resulted in the testing
of candidate drugs in mice with PKD, thus opening new therapeutic windows.
In seeking to combat end-stage renal disease (ESRD), the NIDDK is
supporting studies to understand the strikingly high incidence of the kidney
disease of diabetes mellitus (KDDM) among the ESRD patient population, and
among Native Americans and Blacks.
The NIDDK is also studying the genetic
causes of KDDM in Native Americans, and is designing a therapeutic
intervention study. The NIDDK-supported U.S. Renal Data System is helping to
shed light on the natural history of ESRD and its precursor diseases.
on insights already gained, the NIDDK plans to launch a pilot clinical study
in 1992 on kidney disease and hypertension in Blacks. Thus, the NIDDK has
intensified basic and clinical research on the kidney diseases that lead to
ESRD, for which annual dialysis and transplantation costs are $5.4 billion.
Building a strong urologic diseases research program is a high
priority. The NIDDK is seeking to intensify high-quality research in
interstitial cystitis, a debilitating disease that primarily affects women;
benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), which most men develop as they age; and
diabetes-related urologic disorders.
New knowledge about inflammatory
mediators, growth factors and basic bladder function is helping to construct a
solid science base in urology, from which future clinical achievements will
To expand research in pediatric kidney and urologic diseases, the NIDDK
will soon be funding its first research center in these fields.
Achievements in blood disease research are moving steadily toward
The NIDDK was a major research contributor to the
development of recombinant erythropoietin, a drug that has proven outstanding
in alleviating the anemia of ESRD patients, and was just recently approved by
the FDA for treating the anemia of AIDS patients.
In preliminary clinical
studies, NIDDK scientists recently demonstrated the effectiveness of the drug
hydroxyurea in reducing the complications of sickle cell disease, one of the
most devastating diseases of Black Americans. Now, researchers are combining
this drug with other agents in attempts to extend clinical improvement.
Progress has also been made toward the development of effective oral drugs to
remove the excess iron that accumulates in Cooley's anemia patients as a
result of frequent blood transfusions.
In preliminary NIDDK-supported tests
in animals, these oral chelating drugs have shown their ability to remove
iron, while appearing to have low toxicity. We also support research on bone
marrow transplantation as a treatment method and a vehicle for gene therapy.
In digestive diseases, compelling research advances abound.
supported multicenter clinical trial has confirmed the results of the
pioneering discovery by our intramural scientists that the drug interferon
alfa is effective in treating hepatitis B and C.
For ulcers, NI DDK grantees
have developed a simple, noninvasive breath test for determining which
patients have an underlying bacterial infection that can be eradicated by
Grantees have also identified a possible marker for inflammatory
If this marker can distinguish between the two forms of this
disease--ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease--it may help to reveal their
In other studies, the immunosuppressive drug FK506
continues to show enormous promise in liver transplantation, with fewer side
effects than conventional drugs. With NIDDK support, a useful animal model
was developed for primary biliary cirrhosis, which primarily affects women and
is the most frequent indication for liver transplantation in adults.
also beginning to understand the relationship between obesity and the
development of gallstones, and are following closely the new surgical
procedure for gallbladder removal. Malabsorption syndromes, such as celiac
disease, are the focus of studies aimed at identifying factors that decrease
or prevent nutrient absorption by the gastrointestinal tract.
may also be useful in addressing the wasting syndrome of AIDS.
Our nutrition program is breaking new ground in understanding nutrient
metabolism and energy expenditure. Of particular concern is obesity, a
disproportionate health problem in minority populations and a major risk
factor for non-insulin-dependent diabetes, heart disease, gallbladder disease,
and other serious illnesses
NIDDK grantees are searching for obesity-related
genes in experimental animal models, as well as for mechanisms that regulate
the flow of metabolic fuels and lead to the storage of fat.
Achievements in endocrinology and metabolism are applicable to many
diseases because of the far-reaching effects of hormones and metabolic
processes throughout the body.
The Institute's research on the endocrinology
and metabolism of bone is highly relevant to combating osteoporosis--a
critical health problem of elderly women.
NIDDK grantees have identified a
number of growth factors that may play an influential role in the regulation
of bone metabolism and the osteoporosis disease process.
The Institute is
also generating knowledge about the mechanisms whereby the female hormone
estrogen protects against bone resorption in osteoporosis.
Research on inherited metabolic diseases advanced this year with the
approval by the FDA of a treatment for children whose immune systems are
delivery system was used to treat the first child to receive experimental gene
therapy, and NIH investigators now wait to determine whether the newly
inserted gene will make a normal product. Clearly, this new formulation of an
enzyme treatment will be a valuable ad junct to gene therapy research.
The NIDDK research mission is broad and complex, encompassing many costly
chronic diseases; health problems of the young and the elderly; and diseases
that particularly affect women and minorities.
In highlighting some of our
research advances, I hope I have conveyed the scientific momentum we feel as
Education: B.A., Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, 1957; M.D., Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee, 1961.
Professional History: 1961-62, Intern, Yale University, New Haven,
Professional Organizations : American College of Physicians,
Honors, Awards: Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Fraternity, 1961.
Senator HARKIN. Thank you, Dr. Gorden.
Senator REID. You are very kind, Mr. Chairman, in allowing me to appear out of order after you have been here all morning.
Dr. Gorden, last year the committee provided the urology program an additional $2.5 million to be directed toward research on interstitial cystitis. Can you tell me how you intend to direct these funds?
Dr. GORDEN. Yes, sir; at the present time we have a request for applications for new research project grants in this area, and in addition we are soliciting applications for the establishment of a data base or registry. Both of those programs, that is, this increased research project grant program and the registry or data base program, are well on their way, and will be inaugurated in the very near future.
Senator Reid. Will these moneys be used this year?
Dr. GORDEN. They will be used this year with the possible exception of the data base/registry, which may be difficult to fund this fiscal year for technical reasons relating to timing of the review process. But if it is not this fiscal year, it will be done very early in the next fiscal year.
Senator REID. Doctor, how much of the money is designated for the interstitial cystitis register?
Dr. GORDEN. We do not have the proposals in, so I cannot be precise. But we estimate a figure of something in the range of about $650,000, which would include a data coordinating center and three proposed clinical centers that will actually support this data coordinating center with clinical studies. And that is our present estimation at this point.
Senator REID. And is this a sufficient amount, as far as you know?
Dr. GORDEN. We believe that it will be sufficient. It always has the possibility of flexibility in the future once we get this program started.
Senator REID. I have some other questions that I will submit to the panel in writing, Mr. Chairman.
I would acknowledge that I am going to visit your facility sometime early next month, I think on the eighth.
Dr. GORDEN. We would be very pleased, Senator Reid.