Tag Archives: research

Research Leads to Better Patient Outcomes

As dean of the UNC School of Medicine and CEO of UNC Health Care, I have the fortune of working alongside some of the best and brightest minds in health care. Through research, innovation and advanced health care delivery, they are responsible for tackling some of our most pressing health care challenges.

For instance, for the first time, a global research effort led by John Buse, MD, PhD, professor of medicine at the UNC School of Medicine and director of the UNC Diabetes Center, determined that a new Type 2 diabetes therapy proves better than traditional insulin injections.

The drug IDegLira proved to be more effective than basal insulin glargine injections at reducing the average amount of blood sugar over the course of several months. The new therapy was also associated with weight loss and a substantially lower rate of hypoglycemia – i.e., low blood sugar – compared with more commonly used injections, a major development in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes.

Another area where our researchers are making breakthroughs is in autism and neurodegenerative diseases.  Dr. Mark Zylka, PhD, associate professor of cell biology and physiology at UNC, led a team of researchers who published a study on the role that a new class of fungicides could play in autism and neurodegenerative disease. Along with his team, Dr. Zylka found a class of commonly used fungicides that produce gene expression changes similar to those in people with autism and neurodegenerative conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s disease. The study, published in Nature Communications, describes a new way to home in on chemicals that have the potential to affect brain functions.

This is the kind of research that makes UNC one of the leading academic medical centers in the nation. More importantly, research drives better care and leads to more effective treatments.

For more information on the diabetes study, click here.

For more information on the fungicide study, click here.

UNC School of Medicine’s Breakthrough in Autism Research

One out of 68 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Researchers at the UNC School of Medicine want to change this.

The School of Medicine’s Dr. Mark Zylka and his research team studied the genome sequences of thousands of children with autism, as well as the genome sequences of their unaffected parents. The researchers pinpointed a mutation that disables a genetic molecular switch to cause one form of autism.

This breakthrough in autism research is just the start. Knowing what causes one form of autism could help our researchers identify therapies for this form and discover the cause of other forms of autism.

The School of Medicine seeks to create innovative medical breakthroughs that improve the overall patient experience. Conducting cutting-edge research like this is one of the many ways we continue to do so.

For more information about the study, click here.