Role of Lipid Mediators in Metabolic Diseases & Malignant Tissue Growth – Two Distinct Diseases, One Common Denominator


Dr. Ayala Luria, scientist in the Department of Urology and Institute for Regenerative Cures at UC Davis Medical Center, and a Consultant in a startup company, Adipocyte Therapeutics, discussed about the role of lipid mediators in various diseases, at www.bio2devicegroup.org event.

Diabetes is a disease of glucose homeostasis.  We need glucose for brain activity, energy for muscles etc.  But too much glucose can cause osmosis and affect the vessels and organs.  Under normal circumstance, the body can balance the amount of glucose, or sugar, in the blood with the amount of glucose that the cells need for fuel. The hormone insulin, produced by the pancreas, helps transport the glucose into the cells.  However, under diabetic conditions, the insulin secretion is not sufficient or is not working properly.  There is a strong correlation between obesity, particularly abdominal fat and diabetes.   Adipose tissue is implicated in the development of a systemic inflammatory state that contributes to obesity-associated coronary heart disease.

Dr. Luria’s research project relies on the concept of small lipid mediator, the autacoids that are metabolites of arachidonic acid. About 40% of the drugs in the market targeted towards treatment of inflammatory diseases, asthma and allergy are based on the a class of chemical compounds or small molecules of the archidonic acid pathway.  This small molecule can be diverted to prostaglandins and thromboxanes to treat inflammation and blood clothing.  It can also be diverted to leukotrienes to target asthma, allergies and so on.  There is however, yet another pathway through epoxyeicosatrienoic acids (EETs).  Luria’s research indicated that increasing EETs either pharmacologically or through genetically modified animals, helped obese mice regulate glucose levels.

Luria then discussed her work in angiogenesis.  Angiogenesis refers to the formation of growth of blood vessels, which is at the core of sustaining life.  Without blood, without oxygen, we cannot survive.  In diabetics, impaired wound healing, retinopathy etc. are caused due to impaired angiogenesis.  Insufficient angiogenesis also is considered to be one of the causes in stroke, CHS and so on.  Whereas in cancer, excessive angiogenesis causes malignant tumor growth and many drugs on the market are targeted towards killing angiogenesis.    Luria’s collaboration research indicated that (EETs) stimulate angiogenesis, although the mechanisms involved are not entirely understood.  She tried to use angiogenesis as a vehicle for chemotherapy drugs in low doses.  Combining EETs with inhibitors, led to stark decline in tumors.  She arrived at the conclusion that it might be interesting to target diabetes treatment as benign tumor growth by inhibiting angiogenesis and further use angiogenesis as a vehicle to target tissue growth.

This interesting talk generated lot of response and was followed by Q&A.

Please join us on this Tuesday, April 21, 2013 for continuing discussion on metabolic diseases.  Next week’s talk is titled “Obesity 360” and panelists include – Dr. Darshana Nadkarni, Dr. Alex Nedvetsky, and Mr. Nat Bowditch –  http://bit.ly/ZExFfQ

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