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Rich History of Research in the Field of Endocrinology

Studies on the Role of Hormones in Breast Cancer

In 1962, Olaf Pearson, MD, joined University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University and started a new research program on pituitary tumors and the role of hormones in breast cancer. His research led to the use of antiestrogen and androgens in treating breast cancer. Such treatments are part of the standard of care for patients with breast cancer.

Advancing Diabetes Research

University Hospitals Department of Endocrinology’s contributions to the field of diabetes is rich and date back to the late 1950s. Max Miller, MD led the effort at that time and made several significant contributions that put University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University Reserve on the map of important academic centers regarding diabetes.

University Group Diabetes Program (UGDP)

In addition to his work demonstrating the high incidence of diabetes in Pima Indians, Dr. Miller led the first major clinical trial in diabetes supported by the National Institute of Health’s University Group Diabetes Program (UGDP). The UGDP was a multi-center study that attempted to compare the effectiveness of diet only versus standard insulin therapy, adjusted insulin therapy, or oral agent (orinase), a sulfonyl-urea drug) in preventing the long-term complications of diabetes. The unexpected study’s results demonstrating increased CV mortality in patients treated with the oral agent continue to reverberate in diabetes patient care today.

Studies on Carbohydrate Metabolism

Bernard Landau, MD, greatly enhanced the department’s contributions to the field of basic research in diabetes and metabolism; upon his arrival in 1959.  Dr. Landau was a world-renowned authority on carbohydrate metabolism and using non-radioactive isotopes in human investigations. In addition, Dr. Landau worked with other prominent leaders within University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University, such as Harland Wood, MD and the late Richard Hanson, MD of the Department of Biochemistry. Dr.  Landau continued working in his laboratory until his passing in 2008.

Diabetes Control and Complication Trial (DCCT)

In 1983 the Diabetes Control and Complication Trial (DCCT) was initiated as a result of the initial UGDP study of the UGDP. The principal investigator and late Saul Genuth, MD was a national leader in that trial that eventually demonstrated that intensive glycemic control decreased diabetic nephropathy and retinopathy in patients with type-1 diabetes. Not only did this landmark study alter diabetes management, but it also set the current standards and guidelines in treating patients with this disease. Following the DCCT, the Department of Endocrinology led another study in 1994, the Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications (EDIC), which is ongoing today.

Recently Completed Diabetes Studies

Two important recent studies completed in the past ten years and led by two prominent members of the department, Saul Genuth, MD and Faramarz Ismail-Beigi, MD, include the Bypass, Angioplasty, Revascularization Investigation in Type-2 Diabetes (BARI-2D) and the Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes, (ACCORD) studies. These studies led to multiple publications in prestigious journals.