Gene Transfer Improved Cardiac Function in Diabetic Mouse Model Interview with:

H. Kirk Hammond, MDProfessor of Medicine at University of California, San DiegoBasic research scientist and cardiologistSan Diego Veterans' Affairs Healthcare System

Dr. Hammond

H. Kirk Hammond, MD
Professor of Medicine at University of California
San Diego
Basic research scientist and cardiologist
San Diego Veterans’ Affairs Healthcare System

Dr. Hammond is winner of the 2017 William S. Middleton Award – the highest research honor in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Worldwide, 9% of adults have diabetes, predominantly due to insulin resistance, known as Type 2 diabetes. It is associated with obesity and diets high in fat and carbohydrates. In this gene transfer study we showed that a single injection of a vector encoding a natural hormone (urocortin 2, Ucn2) increased glucose disposal and improved heart function in a model of diet-induced Type 2 diabetes in mice. What should readers take away from your report? 

Response: The concept of a single administration of an agent that reduces blood sugar while increasing heart function, would be attractive to patients with diabetes, who often must adhere to complicated medical regimens, and, consequently, in whom compliance is often not optimal. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: The study is a preliminary step toward that goal, although translation to clinical trials will require additional studies over many years. Is there anything else you would like to add? 

Response: I am a founder of Renova Therapeutics, and am an unpaid consultant, but am a full-time Professor at UCSD and a cardiologist at VA San Diego.  I am grateful to my many collogues in my laboratory for completing this work. I especially want to thank my co-authors, Drs Young Chul Kim, Dimosthenis Giamouridis, N Chin Lai and Mei Hua Gao. I thank the NIH and VA for research funding. 


Young Chul Kim, Dimosthenis Giamouridis, N. Chin Lai, Tracy Guo, Bing Xia, Zhenxing Fu, Mei Hua Gao, H. Kirk Hammond. Urocortin 2 Gene Transfer Reduces the Adverse Effects of a Western Diet on Cardiac Function in Mice. Human Gene Therapy, 2019; DOI: 10.1089/hum.2018.150 



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