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Dr. Daniel Drucker honoured with two awards recognizing his outstanding contributions to fundamental and clinical studies of GLP-1 and GLP-2

March 14, 2017

 

By Meghan Krizus

  Dr. Daniel Drucker
  Dr. Daniel Drucker
The Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute congratulates Senior Investigator Dr. Daniel Drucker for his recognition by two new honours. In previous years, Dr. Drucker has garnered worldwide recognition for his work, including having been awarded the Banting Medal for Scientific Achievement, appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada and elected as a fellow to the Royal Society. He is now the 2017 recipient of the Rolf Luft Award, and shares in the 2017 Harrington Prize for Innovation in Medicine with Drs. Habener and Holst.

These prestigious awards recognize Dr. Drucker’s pioneering research in the field of gut hormones, a body of work that has had enormous impact over the past thirty years and has led to the discovery and development of novel and much-needed clinical treatments for diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and short bowel syndrome.

While both awards recognize the many profound contributions Dr. Drucker has made to his field of study, the Harrington Prize primarily acknowledges his innovative work with a gut hormone called GLP-1. This molecule is involved in controlling blood glucose, making it of critical interest for metabolic diseases such as diabetes. As a result of Dr. Drucker’s work, GLP-1 has been developed into multiple drugs used to treat diabetes and, more recently, diabetes-related cardiovascular conditions, as well. Dr. Drucker explains that the cardiovascular protection property as "probably the reason that GLP-1 is [now] getting even more attention…not only does GLP-1 control glucose, but it reduces heart attacks, strokes, and cardiovascular death." GLP-1’s ability to treat both diabetes and cardiovascular abnormalities is especially important given that cardiovascular complications are the most significant causes of death in patients with diabetes.

The Rolf Luft award, awarded solely to Dr. Drucker, principally recognizes his achievements in GLP-2 research. Also a gut hormone, GLP-2 is involved in nutrient absorption. GLP-2 is therefore important in the treatment of conditions such as short bowel syndrome, in which sufferers are incapable of absorbing sufficient nutrients from the food taken by mouth and must be supplemented by intravenous delivery. Particularly significant to the medical field is that Dr. Drucker’s work with GLP-2 has seen this molecule developed into an effective medication. In his own words, this is an immensely impactful advancement, as "what could these patients use before GLP-2? The answer was there was no approved medication for the chronic treatment of short bowel syndrome."

So to what has driven Dr. Drucker’s success? Among other factors, Dr. Drucker credits an environment of collaboration between researchers in fundamental, clinical, and pharmaceutical fields as having streamlined the process from "bench to bedside," ensuring that fundamental discoveries lead to the pharmaceutical advancements that have been so beneficial to patients. "The basic science has led to the development of entirely new classes of medication to treat disease," he says, and it is Dr. Drucker’s work in fundamental research that paved the way for clinical trials, including those that have seen drugs based on his investigation approved for clinical use in Canada.

In light of these significant achievements, Dr. Drucker continues to contribute not only to valuable research at the LTRI, an institute he lauds as having "reputational excellence," but also to scientific investigation worldwide. Of particular note is the upcoming 2017 Translational Diabetes and Metabolism Research symposium, an international meeting organized yearly by Dr. Drucker, that welcomes scientists from around the world. Also of note is his recent publication in Cell Metabolism on the topic of reproducibility in science. Tackling an issue that poses a significant threat to nearly every field of scientific investigation, Dr. Drucker suggests combating this threat with what he coins a "Reproducibility Index," in which scientists would be scored based on how much of their research has been reliably repeated by their peers.

 

Learn more about the Drucker lab’s research!

Want to know a little more about some of the terms discussed here? Follow the links below:

 

 

 

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