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Health Check: Research into diabetes complication

New biomedical research shows promise in fighting a complication of diabetes.

Richard Clements, Ph.D., is an assistant professor at Brown University and one of the researchers on this project, which was recently funded by the Brown University-based Advance Clinical and Translational Research initiative.

The lab-based, very preliminary research is looking at the vascular system in diabetics and why the blood vessels don’t always dilate to accommodate increased blood flow. That’s important for several reasons.

"That can lead to a whole host of problems,” said Clements. “Vascular problems, coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease as well as higher blood pressure."

As part of this research, discarded tissue from diabetic and non-diabetic patients is being used.

"That we can then take and mount in this set up and then we can give it all sorts of drugs without having to worry about patient safety because it's not in the patient anymore," explained Clements.

And then they can, in this lab, measure which drugs improve the condition. Right now, this research is only in the lab. But, eventually, it will involve animal and then human testing.

"This is kind of the beginning stages of what could, 10 years down the line, turn into some sort of treatment," said Clements.

This is one of the first pilot awards from the Brown University-based Advance Clinical Translational Research initiative, which received funding from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

The total of this five-year program award is $19.5 million. Its purpose is to fund collaborative research involving multiple partners, depending on the project, including researchers from Brown University, Lifespan, Care New England, the Providence VA Medical Center, URI and the Rhode Island Quality Institute.

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