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Robert C. Stanton, M.D. is the Chief of the Kidney and Hypertension Section at the Joslin Diabetes Center and is a Principal Investigator in the Section on Vascular Cell Biology. Dr. Stanton is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School where he is involved with teaching at all levels. Dr. Stanton has lectured all over the world. He has received three Honorary Professorships from Universities in China. Dr. Stanton is an author of many original articles and chapters.
Dr. Stanton's research is centered on understanding the regulation and role of glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) in health and disease. G6PD (the rate limiting enzyme of the pentose phosphate pathway) is the principal source of NADPH which is the main intracellular reductant required by many critical cellular systems. Dr. Stanton's laboratory has determined that G6PD and NADPH is critical for cell survival and has demonstrated that increased levels of glucose (as occurs in diabetes) leads to a decrease in the activity of G6PD in certain cell types and, as a consequence, lower levels of NADPH. This lack of sufficient NADPH is a significant cause of the increased oxidative stress seen in diabetes that leads to kidney disease, vascular disease and other complications. The lack of NADPH also leads to impaired function of other cellular systems that are dependent on NADPH such as nitric oxide synthase that produces nitric oxide (which is required for blood pressure regulation and many other functions) and white blood cell function (due to impaired NADPH oxidase function). And proper G6PD activity and NADPH level is required for beta cell growth, survival, and normal insulin secretion. Current research is focused on determining the specific signals that regulate G6PD, on determining whether G6PD activity is a risk marker for diabetes and diabetic complications, and on discovering drugs that will increase G6PD activity and the NADPH level.
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