Dr. McCall is leading a team of researchers studying how viruses induce diabetes. Certain viruses can infect beta cells, which make insulin, leading the body to think that its own cells are foreign and need to be killed - an overactive response referred to as auto-immune inflammatory disease.
The body attacks the beta cells, which are produced by the pancreas. Once those beta cells are damaged, they can no longer produce the insulin that the body needs. The result is a pancreas that functions improperly, if at all, and is direly inhibited in managing glucose.
McCall and her team are working to understand the process of virus-induced diabetes and are testing a new drug that shows promise in blocking a key pathway involved in a large host of auto-immune inflammatory diseases.
Working on a recently-obtained $221,250 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), McCall and her team are developing a more effective, relatively inexpensive treatment for Type I and II diabetes with fewer side effects than current treatments.
Through another $2.6 million NIH grant. McCall is also working with colleague Frank Schwartz on a new compound, C-10, that could potentially fight pancreatic cancer.
Currently in preclinical trials, the natural compound, C10, blocks toll-like receptors (TLR) - the proteins that activate immune responses in cells. In on-immune cells, TLR can trigger abnormal immune responses that can lead to disease processes, including malignant tumor growth. Preliminary studies also show the drug may effectively treat diabetes as well.
The work is co-funded by Interthyr Corporation, housed in Ohio University's Innovation Center. Leonard D. Kohn, M.D., chief executive officer of Interthyr and retired Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine distinguished senior research scientist, discovered C10 while working at the NIH, and brought the compound to Ohio University for development prior to his retirement.
McCall's Media Placements include:
- Athens News
- Athens Messenger
Molecular Pathways to Disease
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