CACR Fellow leads study on diabetes development
Indiana University and Alivio Medical Center have partnered in a research study that may help identify Latinos genetically at-risk for diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Latinos -- and Latina women in particular -- are among several demographic groups at greatest risk for Type 2 diabetes.
The Diabetic Genomic Health study is projected to last one year and will include both clinical and bioinformatics research. The IU School of Informatics at IUPUI and the Indiana Center for Systems Biology and Personalized Medicine will analyze data from clinical samples collected from Latino patients at Alivio Medical Center and mine existing, large-scale genomic data sets to isolate genetic association patterns for diabetes development.
"With Alivio Medical Center's support, we intend to use these association patterns in the development of a genetic test that further assesses the hidden links between genetics and diabetes among Latinos," said Jake Chen, associate professor of bioinformatics at the IU School of Informatics at IUPUI. Chen is also director of the Indiana Center for Systems Biology and Personalized Medicine.
Indianapolis-based Alivio Medical Center is keenly aware of the need for enhanced diabetes prevention, awareness and education services specific to the Latino community. As a provider of high quality, compassionate, culturally-competent and cost-effective healthcare, it sees an average of 18,000 patients annually. Of those patients, approximately 85 percent are Latinos -- a community that often faces cultural and financial barriers that hinder early diabetes detection and treatment.
The center sees the research agreement with Indiana University as an important step forward in diabetes prevention efforts among Latinos.
"Our partnership with Indiana University will have great impact for the Latino community," said Dr. Alfedo M. López-Yunez, director of Alivio Medical Center. "This research will increase our understanding of the genetic basis of Type 2 diabetes, allowing us to not only identify individuals predisposed to diabetes earlier, but also intervene to prevent this prevalent disease's devastating consequences."