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Koji Sode, a William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor in the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering, is a lead investigator on an $800K grant from JDRF International and The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust for a two-year project. The project will center around improving outcomes for patients living with type 1 diabetes by developing novel ketone monitoring methods to prevent diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). DKA is a complication of type 1 diabetes that results when insulin deficiency leads to elevated blood ketones and acidosis, which can cause diabetic coma or even death.

headshot of Koji Sode in front of the UNC Old Well
Photo by Katie Costanza

Traditionally, ketone monitoring is done manually by the patient using blood or urine testing strips. To make the ketone monitoring process more accessible and consistent, continuous and automatic monitoring of ketones is expected to detect developing DKA events more effectively than current testing processes. Sode’s project will specifically focus on testing and quantifying methods of 3-β-hydroxybutyrate (BOHB), a ketone body raised during ketosis. By concentrating on BOHB’s binding protein, Sode and his collaborators aim to create a continuous ketone monitoring (CKM) system. A CKM system will allow dynamic measurements of blood ketone concentration in real-time, ultimately leading to better prevention of DKA in type 1 diabetes patients.

Co-investigators on this project include Michael Daniele, associate professor in Joint BME, Wakako Tsugawa of Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, and collaborator John Buse from the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

JDRF is the leading global type 1 diabetes research and advocacy organization. The organization’s mission is to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat type 1 diabetes and its complications. To accomplish this, JDRF has invested more than $2.5 billion in research funding since its inception.

Visit JDRF’s website to learn more.

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting exceptional efforts in the U.S. and around the world in health and select place-based initiatives. Since beginning active grantmaking in 2008, Helmsley has committed more than $3.5 billion for a wide range of charitable purposes. The Helmsley Type 1 Diabetes Program is one of the largest private foundation funders of T1D in the nation, focused on understanding the disease, developing better treatments and improving care and access. For more information on Helmsley and its programs, visit this link to its website.

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