Arthur Riggs Diabetes & Metabolism Research Institute
Led by Joyce Niland, Ph.D., the Department of Diabetes & Cancer Discovery Science within the Arthur Riggs Diabetes & Metabolism Research Institute at City of Hope provides leading-edge research to support advances in diabetes, metabolism and oncology research.
Led by Charles Brenner Ph.D., the Department of Diabetes and Cancer Metabolism team pursues leading-edge science to improve the human condition; focusing on diabesity and cancer as constellations of disease that dysregulate the allocation of resources and that can be better diagnosed and treated through analysis of metabolism in health and disease.
The Department of Diabetes Complications & Metabolism is at the forefront of research on the complications of diabetes and was the first to study epigenetic changes in diabetic complications.
For patients with diabetes and other endocrine or metabolic disorders, therapy options and management approaches for diabetes and endocrinology are more plentiful than ever. Treatment is tailored to the individual, with the type of disease and its severity determining the optimal course of treatment.
With a dual focus on immunology and structural biology, principal investigators here are researching cell and tumor immunology and structure analysis.
The Department of Molecular & Cellular Endocrinology, headed by Debbie C. Thurmond, Ph.D., is pioneering efforts to investigate biological mechanisms involved with type 1 and type 2 diabetes development and substances that promote or interfere with those processes.
This department focuses on stem cell biology and development, translational immunology, islet imaging, isolation and distribution, islet quality assessment and new drug discoveries to improve diabetes treatment and management.
We offer groundbreaking research such as developing new immune therapies to rebalance the immune system and halt or reverse type 1 diabetes, reviving and/or replacing the cells that make insulin, and studying the relationships between diabetes and cancer.
Diabetes Clinical Trials
Events and Education
Accomplishments and History
Our world-leading diabetes research center is named the Arthur Riggs Diabetes & Metabolism Research Institute in honor of our longtime director and research pioneer.
The Riggs Institute is one of the world's foremost scientific organizations dedicated to investigating the biology of diabetes and its treatment — drawing from more than four decades of intense investigation since Rachmiel Levine, M.D., who discovered the role of insulin in glucose transport, launched diabetes research at City of Hope. It houses seven departments, including The Wanek Family Project for Type 1 Diabetes, and continues Riggs’ work under its director, Debbie C. Thurmond, Ph.D., the Ruth B. & Robert K. Lanman Chair in Gene Regulation & Drug Discovery Research.
The institute's primary goals include:
- Discovering new biomarkers to identify those at risk for developing diabetes and its complications
- Developing drugs that precisely target the receptor molecules responsible for diabetes
- Developing new immune therapies to rebalance the immune system and halt or reverse type 1 diabetes
- Reviving and/or replacing the cells that make insulin
- Studying the relationships between diabetes and cancer
As one of its former leaders, Arthur D. Riggs, Ph.D., contributed groundbreaking discoveries, such as developing the technology that led to the first synthetic human insulin — a breakthrough that enabled mass production of insulin for people with diabetes. That discovery enabled the the launch of a $500 billion global biotech industry and was followed by numerous firsts in the field of biomedical science.
Through a private partnership and significant commitment of institutional funds, we have brought together collaborative research teams, appointed world-renowned leaders and recruited top talent from around the world — and this is just the beginning.
Clinical trials are designed to test the safety and/or effectiveness of promising new treatments that are not yet approved. Other studies gather information, such as questionnaires or blood samples, to help develop future treatment advances.
City of Hope has one of the most influential diabetes research programs in the world. Our scientists’ work has revolutionized the understanding and treatment of the disease and continues today with exciting developments in cell transplantation, gene regulation, immune tolerance and gaining systemic understanding of diabetes as a complex, multifaceted disease.
The heart of City of Hope’s prolific diabetes program is its people. Hear from the leaders of the Arthur Riggs Diabetes & Metabolism Research Institute — brilliant minds who are shaping the way we understand and treat the disease.