Dr. William Hagopian, 2020 Buster and Nancy D. Alvord Award Recipient

We honor Dr. William Hagopian for his work to understand environmental triggers for type 1 diabetes onset in children with high genetic risk for this devastating disease. Launched in 2006 and still running, “The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young (TEDDY)” study follows 8,000 children across Europe and the U.S. Early results from TEDDY have implications for prevention and cost-effective newborn screening to prevent diabetic ketoacidosis. While this work is definitely a scientific achievement, Bill is the Alvord recipient because of the philanthropic nature of the TEDDY study.

Bill also played a major role in early development of the anti-CD3 monoclonal antibody (mAb) treatment that clinically delays onset. Through work in the early 2000’s with newly diagnosed patients, Bill and his team demonstrated that this mAb approach put the brakes on worsening insulin production, prevents deterioration of C-peptide response after meals and improves metabolic control of the disease (Herold 2002; Herold 2005) for at least two years after onset.

Dr. Hagopian is also proud of his work in Ake Lernmark’s lab at the University of Washington. He cloned human islet GAD, was lead developer of the first recombinant GAD antibody assay and published the first clinical paper showing that this test could distinguish between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Bill’s life work is currently enjoying a game-changing synthesis! Check out papers on population-wide prediction of type 1 diabetes using genetic risk scores and combined risk scores. The genetic risk score paper is in Diabetes Care 2019 (Sharp et al) and a combined risk score paper in press in Nature Medicine 2020 (Ferrat et al).

Bill’s Personal Statement

William Hagopian is the Director of Diabetes Programs at the Pacific Northwest Diabetes Research Institute. He completed both medical and research doctorates at the University of Chicago, and Internal Medicine Residency and Endocrinology Fellowship at the University of Washington, where he remains Clinical Professor of Medicine treating inpatients and outpatients. He Chairs various scientific and safety committees and boards, as well as grant review committees at NIH and elsewhere. He has published over 140 manuscripts and reviews. Dr. Hagopian's research focuses on strategies in immunology and molecular biology to predict and prevent type 1 diabetes before clinical disease onset. These studies screened >140,000 Washington State newborns to a) determine which environmental factors trigger diabetes in those at genetic risk and b) develop and implement cost-effective strategies for population-based pediatric screening for preclinical diabetes prediction. He has developed low cost high accuracy islet antibody tests and genetic risk scores, which together have great potential for translation to public health settings and mainstream medical care to decrease costs and prevent ketoacidosis at onset in young children. Dr.Hagopian also pursues collaborative clinical trials of low-toxicity immune therapies to interrupt the inappropriate autoimmune response that kills insulin-producing pancreatic islet cells. In addition to their potential to prevent diabetes before clinical onset, these studies may help newly-diagnosed patients to preserve their remaining insulin production for better diabetes management.

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