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DRC Directors' Report - February 2023

Congratulations to our Bridge to the Cure new recipient! 

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Bing Li was selected as a new recipient of the Bridge to the Cure award. Dr. Li will join current recipients of this Award: Dr Julien Sebag and Dr. Calvin Carter. 

The Bridge to a Cure initiative is designed to support members of the FOEDRC to accelerate promising research aimed at the development of novel therapeutic approaches for the treatment and/or prevention of diabetes. The support has been made possible by an ongoing commitment of the Fraternal Order of Eagles (FOE) to support the mission of the FOEDRC. 

The FOEDRC has assembled an external advisory committee that is tasked with reviewing the proposed projects. This committee is also involved in assessing progress, providing intellectual support and guidance towards meeting expected milestones and with making a recommendation to the F.O.E. foundation regarding future funding of each project. 

Funded applicants are expected to provide bi-annual written progress reports and oral presentations to the advisory board and UIRF. Intellectual property arising from work funded will be subject to University of Iowa stipulations. 

Bing Li, PhD 
Professor, Department of Pathology
Project: Targeting A-FABP with humanized anti-A-FABP monoclonal antibodies for treatment of diabetes 

The epidemic of obesity we witnessed over the last few decades is mostly caused by overnutrition. Excess energy stored in adipose tissues leads to fat accumulation, chronic inflammation and multiple obesity-related diseases, including diabetes. Multiple molecular mechanisms linking obesity/diabetes have been proposed, including adipose fatty acid binding protein (A-FABP, also known as FABP4) which has emerged as a new adipokine that promote diabetes development by supporting the production of glucose in the liver and impairing the function of insulin-secreting cells in the pancreas. Thus, targeting A-FABP represents a novel strategy for diabetes treatment. 

To inhibit AFABP activity, Dr. Bing Li’s group has developed the first humanized anti-A-FABP antibodies, which showed efficacy in lowing glucose levels and increasing insulin sensitivity in preliminary studies. Through the Bridge to the Cure Initiative, Dr. Li’s group will further develop the antibodies and test their therapeutic efficacy using different diabetic animal models. Completion of the project will greatly enhance the commercialization potential of this new treatment for diabetes and other obesity associated diseases.

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The Fraternal Order of Eagles, an international nonprofit organization, unites fraternally in the spirit of liberty, truth, justice and equality, to make human life more desirable by lessening its ills, and by promoting peace, prosperity, gladness and hope.

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