Two national diabetes-related initiatives coordinated by MCG bioinformatics expert

A national effort to develop animal models to study the devastating complications of diabetes is being coordinated by a Medical College of Georgia bioinformatics expert.

Dr. Richard A. McIndoe, associate director of the MCG Center for Biotechnology and Genomic Medicine, has received a $15 million, five-year grant the largest ever received by MCG to continue operating the Coordinating and Bioinformatics Unit for the innovative National Institutes of Health project, Animal Models of Diabetic Complications Consortium.

He also will begin providing the same services for the Mouse Metabolic Phenotyping Centers, another NIH-funded consortium of centers offering expertise in sophisticated, expensive mouse testing to scientists nationwide for a variety of diseases including diabetes and its complications as well as obesity and related disorders.

The Animal Models of Diabetic Complications Consortium consists of 13 investigators from different institutions generating ideas for creating mouse models, a Mouse Generation and Husbandry Core to generate the mice and the Coordinating and Bioinformatics Unit to oversee consortium activities.

"The NIH recognized years ago that there were few good animal models that mimic the complications of diabetes," Dr. McIndoe says. Even the NOD mouse, a spontaneous model for type 1 diabetes, is inadequate, primarily because complications tend to come with age and mice have a relatively short lifespan, he says.

Complications include cardiovascular and kidney disease, diabetic retinopathy as well as damage to the nerves and bladder. "Diabetic cardiovascular disease is probably the biggest mortality risk for type 1 and 2 diabetes; somewhere around 60 to 70 percent of diabetic mortality can be associated with cardiovascular disease," Dr. McIndoe says.

Unfortunately, the high risk of model development impeded financial support until several years ago when NIH opted to commit funds to

Contact: Toni Baker
Medical College of Georgia

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