Dr. Daniel J. Drucker
Professor, Departments of Medicine and Molecular and Medical Genetics, University of Toronto
Director of the Banting and Best Diabetes Centre, University of Toronto
Dr. Drucker has focused his research on the role of glucagon whose function is to increase blood glucose when it becomes too low. His particular interest is the role GLP-1 and GLP-2, gut hormones which, when released in the blood by the intestines while eating, regulate the level of glucose by acting on the pancreas, stomach and brain. The secretion of these hormones is lower in Type 2 diabetics.
Through genetic work, including cloning of the gene for exendin-4 (a substance found in a venomous lizard) which lowers blood glucose, Dr. Drucker’s research has played a major role in unravelling the biological actions of GLP-1 and the development of a drug now available in Canada for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes.
Dr. Drucker’s work has also been instrumental in understanding the role of an enzyme, dipeptidyl-peptidase-4 (DDP-4), in the rapid deterioration of GLP-1. This led to a second drug, Sitagliptin, also available in Canada for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes.
Dr. Drucker also synthesized a GLP-2 analog that has just completed Phase 3 trials in human subjects with short bowel syndrome. Additional clinical trials in Crohn’s disease are also underway.
The Research Award recognizes the outstanding contribution of a researcher or a research team having made, according to the Prix Galien Canada jury, a significant contribution to the diagnosis, prevention or treatment of disease. Candidates from academia, health-care institutions, research centres and the biopharmaceutical industry are eligible.