(January 23, 2012—Toronto, ON)
Dr. Daniel Drucker, Senior Investigator at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Banting and Best Diabetes Centre at the University of Toronto, has received a 2011 CIHR/CMAJ Top Achievements in Health Research Award, in recognition of his internationally renowned achievements in diabetes patient care and research.
Dr. Drucker was one of six recipients of the award, included among exceptional researchers in Canada whose achievements changed the course of health care delivery in their field of work. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) revealed the six recipients today.
“The recipients of this award have demonstrated the key purpose of health research— translating research knowledge into practical health outcomes,” said Dr. Ian Graham, Vice President, Knowledge Translation and Public Outreach at CIHR. “The achievements recognized today are a testament to how health research and better healthcare delivery go hand in hand.”
For the third year, a peer-review panel of Canadian and international experts selected exceptional individuals including Dr. Drucker, based on the considerable health impact of their work to benefit Canadians and others worldwide. Among the six outstanding achievements selected, Dr. Drucker was one of only two who received special mentions for their highest-ranking successes.
“I am very pleased that the hard work and accomplishments of our research team over two decades have led to a greater understanding of the biology of gut hormones, and in turn, the development of new drugs for the treatment of diabetes,” said Dr. Drucker.
New therapies are greatly improving blood sugar control for people with diabetes—an illness that impacts thousands of Canadians. The two most recently approved drug classes for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, DPP-4 inhibitors and GLP-1R agonists (both widely used in Canada and helping to improve glucose control and quality of life), are based substantially on Dr. Drucker’s research. He is now investigating the cardiovascular effects of these drugs, in parallel with seven major clinical cardiovascular outcome studies that are underway to rigorously assess the safety of these new drugs in patients with diabetes and heart disease.
Dr. Drucker also contributed to the testing of a new once-weekly treatment for type 2 diabetes that may complement the more common twice-daily injection of exenatide, an advance that has significantly improved the quality of life for people with diabetes.
A clinician-scientist at Mount Sinai since 2007, Dr. Drucker’s leadership and achievements in diabetes research at the hospital have received both national and international recognition.
“It’s relatively rare for a scientist to see their research realized in an approved therapy,” noted Dr. Jim Woodgett, Director of Research at the Lunenfeld. “But it is virtually unheard of to be responsible for two. This reflects the remarkable impact Dr. Drucker has had on patients suffering from diabetes.”
Later this year, Dr. Drucker will become the first and only Canadian to receive the Claude Bernard Lecture/Award of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD), which is thehighest scientific achievement award of the EASD. He holds the Canada Research Chair in Regulatory Peptides; received the Prix Galien Canada Research Award in 2008 for his substantial contribution to the diagnosis, prevention or treatment of diseases; and the 2009 Clinical Investigator Award from The Endocrine Society.
The incidence of type 2 diabetes has reached epidemic proportions worldwide and is a leading cause of heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and limb amputation. Several studies have shown that lifestyle changes and appropriate pharmacologic therapy can significantly reduce the development of type 2 diabetes in people at risk of the disease.
Dr. Drucker’s significant research discoveries mean improved health for millions of patients with type 2 diabetes worldwide. His key findings led to the development of several new classes of therapies for these patients. The new therapies reduced the need for self-monitoring of blood glucose levels and lowered the risk of hypoglycemia and weight gain. Currently, Dr. Drucker’s lab at the Lunenfeld focuses on understanding the biology of glucagon-like peptides.