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KUSI Good Morning San Diego Interviews DRC’s Very Own Alberto Hayek

Introduction to the KUSI Good Morning San Diego Interview with DRC

Local television programming can often give us insights and connections to our community that other media simply can’t. One such program is the KUSI Good Morning San Diego show, which recently had a special guest – Dr. Alberto Hayek from the Diabetes Research Connection (DRC). His appearance was not just informative, but also a testament to the significant work being done by DRC.

Who is Alberto Hayek?

For those unfamiliar with the name, Dr. Alberto Hayek is a key player in diabetes research. He’s a titan in the field, with numerous contributions that have significantly advanced our understanding and treatment of the disease.

Starting his career over four decades ago, Hayek’s work has always revolved around finding a cure for diabetes. His current roles, including his position as the Scientific Director at DRC, have allowed him to lead crucial research and push for innovative solutions.

The Significance of Diabetes Research Connection (DRC)

In the world of medical research, DRC stands out for its singular focus on finding a cure for diabetes. The organization is driven by a mission to connect early-career scientists with the funding needed to explore novel, high-risk ideas in diabetes research.

DRC’s unique approach has led to some groundbreaking projects. The impact of these projects has been profound, increasing our understanding of diabetes and moving us a step closer to a world without this debilitating disease.

The Interview: Insights into the World of DRC

The interview with Dr. Hayek on KUSI Good Morning San Diego was a deep dive into the world of diabetes research. He shared his vision for a cure and the role that DRC plays in achieving this goal.

As he elaborated on the ongoing work at DRC, Hayek painted a picture of a future where diabetes is no longer a chronic, lifelong condition but a disease that can be effectively cured.

Key Takeaways from the Interview

The conversation with Dr. Hayek highlighted the challenges in diabetes research, including the need for more funding and the complexity of the disease itself. Butdespite these challenges, the interview was also a beacon of hope.

Current innovations in research, such as DRC’s pioneering approach to funding high-risk projects, are paving the way for significant breakthroughs. And with Hayek at the helm, DRC is poised to make a considerable impact in the quest to find a cure.


The interview with Dr. Alberto Hayek on KUSI Good Morning San Diego brought the work of the DRC to the forefront, shedding light on the significant strides being made in diabetes research. Through the lens of Dr. Hayek’s expertise and passion, we get a glimpse into a future where diabetes can be effectively cured, thanks to the innovative work of organizations like DRC.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who is Dr. Alberto Hayek? Dr. Alberto Hayek is a leading figure in diabetes research. He is the Scientific Director at the Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) and has spent over four decades working towards finding a cure for diabetes.
  2. What is the Diabetes Research Connection (DRC)? The Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) is an organization that aims to connect early-career scientists with the funding they need to explore novel, high-risk ideas in diabetes research.
  3. What was discussed in the KUSI Good Morning San Diego interview? Dr. Hayek discussed his vision for a cure for diabetes, the challenges faced in research, and the role that the DRC plays in advancing our understanding of the disease.
  4. What are the key takeaways from Dr. Hayek’s interview? The interview highlighted the significant work being done by DRC under Dr. Hayek’s leadership, the challenges in diabetes research, and the potential for significant breakthroughs in finding a cure.
  5. What does the future hold for diabetes research according to Dr. Hayek? Dr. Hayek envisions a future where diabetes is no longer a chronic condition but a disease that can be effectively cured, thanks to innovative research approaches like those pursued by DRC.


On World Diabetes Day, November 14th, KUSI’s Good Morning San Diego anchor, Elizabeth Alvarez, interviewed Alberto Hayek, Co-Founder and President of San Diego’s local non-profit, Diabetes Research Connection (DRC). DRC is a crowdfunding platform that supports early-career scientists.’

See the video below:

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Diabetes Shot

End of Daily Injections for Diabetes as Scientists Restore Insulin Production

Diabetes Shot
In future people with diabetes may not need to inject themselves on a daily basis. Photo: Alamy

Original article written by Sarah Knapto, Science Editor, for The Telegraph on November 25, 2015. Click here to read the original article.

The end of daily injections for diabetes sufferers could be in sight after scientists showed it is possible to restore insulin production for up to a year by boosting the immune system.

Hundreds of thousands of people in Britain suffer from Type 1 diabetes and need to inject themselves daily to keep blood sugar levels under control.

The disease attacks insulin-secreting cells in the pancreas. Healthy people have billions of ‘peacekeeping’ cells called ‘T-regs’ which protect insulin-making cells from the immune system but people suffering Type 1 diabetes do not have enough.

“The T-reg intervention frees people like me from the daily grind of insulin therapy and lifelong fear of complication” – Mary Rooney, Type 1 diabetes patient

Now researchers at the University of California and Yale have shown that the ‘T-regs’ can be removed from the body, increased by 1,500x in the laboratory and infused back into the bloodstream to restore normal function.

An initial trial of 14 people has shown that the therapy is safe, and can last up to a year.

“This could be a game-changer,” said Dr Jeffrey Bluestone, Professor in Metabolism and Endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

“By using T-regs to ‘re-educate’ the immune system, we may be able to really change the course of this disease.

“We expect T-regs to be an important part of diabetes therapy in the future.”

Insulin Shot
Sufferes of type 1 and type 2 diabetes may have to inject insulin daily  Photo: Alamy

Not only does the treatment stop the need for regular insulin injections, but it prevents the disease progressing which could save sufferers from blindness and amputation in later life.

Diabetes is an autoimmune disease. The immune system usually defends against infections, but in Type 1 diabetes the process goes awry and as well as fighting foreign invaders, it also targets the body’s own cells.

In the new procedure, doctors removed around two cups of blood containing around two to four million ‘T-reg’ cells from 14 patients aged between 18 and 43 who had been recently diagnosed with diabetes. Their ‘T-reg’ cells were separated from other cells and replicated in a growth medium, before being infused back into the blood.

Child psychologist Mary Rooney, 39, who was diagnosed with type diabetes in 2011, was the first trial participant, and said the therapy had ‘freed her from the daily grind’ of injections.

Speaking of her diagnosis she said: “After weeks of losing weight, always being thirsty, having blurry vision that would come and go, and generally feeling run-down, I knew something wasn’t right. Type 1 diabetes was the furthest from my mind, though.

“Initially, I was in a state of shock. I didn’t realize that you could be diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as an adult

“My first thoughts were “This sucks” and “This can’t possibly be happening,” but I knew I couldn’t just stay in a state of denial and disappointment forever.”

Miss Rooney, who worked as a researcher at the University of California soon learned that the institution was looking for patients for the T-reg trial, and asked to be enrolled.

“By being that first patient, I knew I was taking a chance. And I have to be honest: I was scared,” she added.

“But I liked the fact that this experimental treatment involved using my own regulatory T-cells, which would be expanded in a lab and then re-infused. The theory behind this study really made sense to me.

“The T-reg intervention frees people like me from the daily grind of insulin therapy and lifelong fear of complication.”

The team say that T-Reg treatments also hold promise as treatments for other autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, and even as therapies for cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases and obesity.

The research was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

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DRC Board of Directors

Connecting Donors Directly to Researchers

Original article posted by Charlena Wynn via NC State University’s Philanthropy Journal on November 2, 2015. Click here to read the original article.

DRC Board of Directors
DRC Board of Directors

One out of every hundred Americans has type 1 diabetes (T1D). Millions of children and adults struggle with this autoimmune disease. Yet, funding has decreased for research to prevent, cure, and better manage the disease. Of the funding available, 97% goes to established scientists. Early-career scientists are often the source of radical new ideas but have difficulty finding money to support them, forcing many to leave the field of diabetes research.

The Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) created a platform which connects donors directly with early-career scientists, enabling them to logo_vectorperform research designed to prevent and cure T1D, minimize its complications, and improve the quality of life for those living with the disease.

Scientists submit their projects to a panel of over 80 leading diabetes experts who review it for innovation, feasibility, value, and achievability. As established scientists, DRC’s panel of experts donate their time and expertise to encourage the next generation of diabetes investigators to push the envelope.

The time from application to funding can be as little as 12 weeks, compared to 18 months for many research grants. In 2015, 100% of research funds go directly to the scientists’ lab. To ensure transparency, each researcher provides updates on their project, posting final outcomes on DRC’s website.

Alberto Hayek, M.D., co-founder and president of the Diabetes Research Connection and world-renowned diabetes expert believes that the lack of funding for early, discovery-stage projects is one of the biggest problems in research. “With DRC, we are giving scientists the resources to test and validate research that departs from conventional thinking, because the opportunity to pursue new paths is when and where breakthroughs occur,” says Hayek.


DRC utilizes the online mechanism called “crowdfunding” because it connects scientists just starting out in their research career directly to the crowd of people seeking solutions to diabetes.

The seed money supporters provide through DRC’s website help ensure that innovative ideas can be pursued. Without this source of funding, the number of researchers in diabetes is certain to decline and a cure will be that more difficult to find.

Dr. Todd Brusko from the University of Florida received $50,000 through DRC to begin working on his project titled, “Can we engineer a patient’s immune cells to stop the autoimmune attack that causes T1D?

“In six months, my project has made remarkable progress. My lab isolated and expanded a rare population of regulatory T cells (Tregs) to a level that we believe may yield therapeutic efficacy. Importantly, the nanoparticle delivery approach appears to be working to sustain the activity of Tregs. This supports the notion that these cells will be functional and help restore balance in the immune system when re-infused into patients with type 1 diabetes,” says Brusko.

Ph.D. candidate, Kristin Mussar, from the University of Washington received $54,000 through DRC to begin working on her project titled, “Creating new insulin-producing cells to repair the damaged pancreas.”

“We are one of the few labs in the United States currently researching macrophages to determine if this type of white blood cell, typically involved in fighting off viruses or colds, may help repair pancreatic beta cells. If successful, my project may lead to finding a molecule or drug that can be given to T1D patients to help them restore their body’s natural ability to produce insulin,” says Mussar.


DRC was established in 2012 by five tireless proponents of diabetes research. Dr. Alberto Hayek, emeritus professor from the University of California and Scientific Director at Scripps/Whittier Diabetes Institute in San Diego; Doctors Nigel Calcutt and Charles King, diabetes research scientists affiliated with the University of California; David Winkler, an attorney, entrepreneur and venture philanthropist who was diagnosed with T1D at the age of six and Amy Adams, a writer and business owner whose son has lived with T1D for most of his life.

DRC’s goal is to have at least 10 projects actively seeking funds on the website.


The Diabetes Research Connection connects donors with early-career scientists enabling them to perform peer-reviewed, novel research designed to prevent and cure type 1 diabetes, minimize its complications and improve the quality of life for those living with the disease.

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See our approved research projects and campaigns.

Role of the integrated stress response in type 1 diabetes pathogenesis
In individuals with type 1 diabetes (T1D), the insulin-producing beta cells are spontaneously destroyed by their own immune system. The trigger that provokes the immune system to destroy the beta cells is unknown. However, accumulating evidence suggest that signals are perhaps first sent out by the stressed beta cells that eventually attracts the immune cells. Stressed cells adapt different stress mitigation systems as an adaptive response. However, when these adaptive responses go awry, it results in cell death. One of the stress response mechanisms, namely the integrated stress response (ISR) is activated under a variety of stressful stimuli to promote cell survival. However, when ISR is chronically activated, it can be damaging to the cells and can lead to cell death. The role of the ISR in the context of T1D is unknown. Therefore, in this DRC funded study, we propose to study the ISR in the beta cells to determine its role in propagating T1D.
Wearable Skin Fluorescence Imaging Patch for the Detection of Blood Glucose Level on an Engineered Skin Platform
A Potential Second Cure for T1D by Re-Educating the Patient’s Immune System
L Ferreira
Validating the Hypothesis to Cure T1D by Eliminating the Rejection of Cells From Another Person by Farming Beta Cells From a Patient’s Own Stem Cells
Han Zhu
Taming a Particularly Lethal Category of Cells May Reduce/Eliminate the Onset of T1D
JRDwyer 2022 Lab 1
Can the Inhibition of One Specific Body Gene Prevent Type 1 Diabetes?
Is Cholesterol Exacerbating T1D by Reducing the Functionality and Regeneration Ability of Residual Beta Cells?
Regeneration Ability of Residual Beta Cells
A Call to Question… Is T1D Caused by Dysfunctionality of Two Pancreatic Cells (β and α)?
Xin Tong
Novel therapy initiative with potential path to preventing T1D by targeting TWO components of T1D development (autoimmune response and beta-cell survival)
flavia pecanha