We are very pleased to announce that the DMPI is the recent recipient of a generous philanthropic gift of $200,000 from Dr. Ernest and Louise Borden. The gift of four one-year Borden Scholar grants will allow selected DMPI faculty to test new, emergent ideas with translational implications for which alternative sources of funding are not yet available. Congratulations to the 2017 Borden Scholars recipients and DMPI faculty members, Jonathan Campbell, PhD and Mark Herman, MD.
Dr. Borden received his medical degree from Duke School of Medicine and has had a long and successful career as a practicing Oncologist with research and clinical trials experience with immunomodulatory therapy in cancer at The Cleveland Clinic. In addition, he has held numerous national academic appointments including American Cancer Society Professor of Clinical Oncology.
Dr. Campbell’s work will focus on more efficacious, novel treatments for type 2 diabetes that facilitate patient compliance with treatment protocols. Incretins are a group of metabolic hormones that help control glucose homeostasis. While incretin-based drugs have considerably improved diabetes treatment, there are opportunities to target this system more effectively. Dr. Campbell’s laboratory is combining their strength in incretin biology and glucose metabolism with the novel biotherapeutic approaches pioneered by the Chilkoti Laboratory at Duke University to leverage two novel technologies for the development of incretin-based multi-receptor agonists. To this end they propose to test the ability of these newly designed compounds to improve insulin secretion and provide optimal control of glucose levels.
The metabolic syndrome is a cluster of risk factors that predispose individuals to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Epidemiological evidence and clinical studies also support an emerging hypothesis that obesity and the metabolic syndrome may be important factors in the development and progression of epithelial cancers and that overt diabetes may further increase this risk. The molecular mechanisms linking cardiometabolic risk to risk for cancer are a major gap in our knowledge. Identifying these mechanisms could provide new avenues for targeted preventative, diagnostic, and treatment strategies. Previous work in Dr. Herman’s laboratory on the transcription factor Carbohydrate Responsive Element Binding Protein (ChREBP) suggests that this factor may regulate a signaling pathway that contributes to the observed association between cardiometabolic diseases and cancer risk. The Borden Scholars funding will allow the Herman lab to seek support for their novel mechanistic model in which overnutrition and/or excessive sugar consumption activates a hepatic ChREBP-regulated signaling pathway that places obese humans at risk for both metabolic disease and cancer.
The DMPI is extremely grateful to Dr. and Mrs. Borden for this most generous gift in support of our research!