Dr. Bing Li receives a Bridge to the Cure Award from the University of Iowa Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center

Dr. Bing Li and Matthew YorekDr. Bing Li is the most recent recipient of a Bridge to the Cure Award from the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center (FOEDRC). 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 to support the mission of the FOEDRC.

Dr. Li’s project is ‘Targeting A-FABP with humanized anti-A-FABP monoclonal antibodies for treatment of diabetes’. The epidemic of obesity 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 promotes diabetes development by supporting 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 A-FABP 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 and laboratory group member Matthew Yorek 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.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023