A focus of the Vlassara laboratory is to broaden the working model on pathogenic processes and obtain tools for prevention/intervention treatments of the complications of aging and diabetes. These complex entities reflect multiple interactions of environmental and genetic parameters. Her studies have defined: a) the chemical and cellular-toxicity of advanced glycation; b) a new receptor system that recognizes AGE-modified molecules (AGE-receptor); c) genetic factor(s) influencing the AGE-receptor function. Cellular activation via this receptor contributes to vascular, renal, and neuronal dysfunction under conditions of AGE-overaccumulation, as in aging, diabetes, or renal impairment. These factors, combined with environmental AGEs, eg., diet and tobacco smoke, can contribute to tissue injury, leading to chronic degenerative disorder. Dr. Vlassara's studies have applied a broad range of molecular, cell-culture, and animal-based approaches to confirm a cause-and-effect relationship between AGEs and pathology. Concurrently, they also have produced novel quantitative and sensitive diagnostic methods and highly effective therapies that are actively tested.
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