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 Home / About Us > Dr. Dusica Maysinger > Research Summary

Research Summary

JDRF Research project: Self assembly drug delivery systems and islet transplantations to enhance their efficiency in vivo.

Research laboratories:
Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Faculty of Medicine,
McGill University, 3655 Promenade Sir William Osler,
Montreal, Canada H3G 1Y6.

Dr. Maysinger's areas of expertise include the mechanisms of drug actions, and signaling mechanisms in cell survival and differentiation. Her ongoing studies address a number of essential questions relevant to cell survival and processes leading to cell death, differentiation or survival. Dissection of signal transduction pathways involved in these processes in islet cells has been a focus of a long-term collaboration with Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg. This multi-disciplinary collaboration has proved synergistic in the area of translational research in terms of efficiently obtaining the results of molecular biological studies in human islets and applying them to diabetic patients in the clinic. Key findings from Dr. Maysinger's research include the following:
(1) Pancreatic islets are dying in the post-isolation period by apoptosis and delayed necrosis .
(2) Early pharmacological intervention during the islet isolation procedure can enhance islet survival .
(3) Combined therapeutic intervention is beneficial during and after islet isolation, as well as during the post-transplantation period.

New candidate drugs for therapeutic interventions in diabetes (including diabetic neuropathy) require the development of novel delivery systems that are efficient, practical, and economical. The delivery systems Dr. Maysinger's group has been studying are aimed at overcoming problems presented by the administration of drugs that are currently expensive or difficult to obtain. Dr. Maysinger's research includes the study of nano-delivery systems and other drug and cell-delivery systems that can promote cell survival in vitro and in vivo. She has developed novel combination therapy strategies which combine drug delivery systems together to achieve effective local drug release and to enhance the three-dimensional environment of islet and other cells.

Islet Neogenesis Associated Protein (Ingap) is a particularly interesting candidate drug for the treatment of diabetes. Recent findings show that a pentadecapeptide of this protein is biologically active. Ingap is currently in clinical trials and there is an urgent need for improved drug delivery systems for Ingap in the clinic. Dr. Maysinger's research group is focused on studying the effects of Ingap peptide in vitro and in vivo (in mouse and dog models of diabetes), as well as on developing new methods of delivering Ingap and other drugs to diabetic patients, which will promote islet cells survival and normal secretory function, and/or the survival of progenitor cells that will transform into functional islet cells.

Nonviral, biocompatible drug delivery systems that are effective and have minimal adverse reactions are being studied in Dr. Maysinger's laboratory at McGill and are also the subject of her collaborations with the following research groups:
" Dr. Eisenberg's group (Chemistry Department, University of ?)
" Dr. JC Laroux and Dr. F.Winnik (X Department, University of ?)
" Dr. X (Ecole Polytechnic (Polymer Chemistry?), University of Montreal.
Fluorescent-labeled Ingap peptide is being used to investigate the cellular interactions between Ingap peptide and cell proteins involved in signal transduction processes that are important in islet neogenesis and peripheral nerve outgrowth in diabetic patients.

Montreal Diabetes Research Center 2008
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