Published: 29-10-2013 00:00 | Updated: 26-11-2013 10:33

Prize lecture on cell signals in diabetes

[PRESS INVITATION 29 October 2013] This year's Diabetes Day at Karolinska Institutet is centred on the pancreas and the possibility of reprogramming it to produce more insulin. It will also be looking at how an active lifestyle affects the disease. The prestigious Jacobaeus Prize will also be awarded, with a special lecture from the recipient on cell signalling.

Our cells contain a number of signalling molecules. One family of such molecules, called Phosphatidylinositide 3-kinases, play a pivotal part in metabolism. The biochemist who discovered this family, Professor Lewis Cantley at Weill Cornell Medical College in the USA, is to receive the 2013 Jacobæus Prize in recognition of his work. He will be holding a lecture during the conference.

"If this cell signalling system fails to work, insulin cannot take care of the glucose in the fat and muscle cells," says Professor Anna Krook at Karolinska Institutet. "This is essential to cell growth and has significance for metabolism and cancer."

The prize was created to promote medical research and is awarded annually by the Novo Nordisk Foundation to an outstanding international researcher. H.C. Jacobæus (18791937) was a professor at Karolinska Institutet and a pioneer in clinical research.

From this molecular discovery in the cell, the conference will move on to physical activity and its impact on the metabolism. New research demonstrates how important activity is, not that which is directly related to training but to how we move around during every 24-hour period. James A Levine, from the Mayo Clinic, USA, will be speaking on the so-called fidget-factor, which he has studied using specially designed underwear that measures physical activity.

"He has found that a banal way of moving has a major impact on metabolism, explains Professor Krook. By that I mean small things, like how often you get up from a seat. If you're a little forgetful and have to get up often to go and fetch things, your metabolism is often affected."

The conference will also be centring on the nature and workings of the pancreas. Events include a lecture on the hormones, aside from insulin, that play a potential part in diabetes. Not all parts of the pancreas produce insulin, but there are now hopes that exocrine pancreatic cells can be reprogrammed to synthesise insulin when insulin production is disrupted in some way.

Reporters are welcome to attend the conference and interview the researchers.

  • Conference: The H.C. Jacobæus symposium on the molecular and physiological aspects of Diabetes Mellitus
  • When: 15 November, 9.00 am - 5.00 pm
  • Where: Karolinska Institutet Campus Solna, Aula Medica, Nobels väg 6

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