Pamela Itkin-Ansari, Ph.D.[La Jolla]
I became a scientist in the hopes of improving the health of patients with diabetes or pancreatic cancer. I choose to work at Sanford-Burnham because of the wonderful colleagues and excellent technology that the institute provides.
View All Publications
Id3 upregulates BrdU incorporation associated with a DNA damage response, not replication, in human pancreatic β-cells.
Lee SH, Hao E, Levine F, Itkin-Ansari P
Islets. 2011 Nov-Dec;3(6):358-66
The Id3/E47 axis mediates cell-cycle control in human pancreatic ducts and adenocarcinoma.
Lee SH, Hao E, Kiselyuk A, Shapiro J, Shields DJ, Lowy A, Levine F, Itkin-Ansari P
Mol Cancer Res. 2011 Jun;9(6):782-90
CENP-A, a protein required for chromosome segregation in mitosis, declines with age in islet but not exocrine cells.
Lee SH, Itkin-Ansari P, Levine F
Aging (Albany NY). 2010 Nov;2(11):785-90
Phenothiazine neuroleptics signal to the human insulin promoter as revealed by a novel high-throughput screen.
Kiselyuk A, Farber-Katz S, Cohen T, Lee SH, Geron I, Azimi B, Heynen-Genel S, Singer O, Price J, Mercola M, Itkin-Ansari P, Levine F
J Biomol Screen. 2010 Jul;15(6):663-70
Adult human beta-cell neogenesis?
Demeterco C, Hao E, Lee SH, Itkin-Ansari P, Levine F
Diabetes Obes Metab. 2009 Nov;11 Suppl 4:46-53
Real-time bioluminescence imaging of macroencapsulated fibroblasts reveals allograft protection in rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta).
Tarantal AF, Lee CC, Itkin-Ansari P
Transplantation. 2009 Jul 15;88(1):38-41
Derivation of a retinoid X receptor scaffold from peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma ligand 1-Di(1H-indol-3-yl)methyl-4-trifluoromethylbenzene.
Dawson MI, Ye M, Cao X, Farhana L, Hu QY, Zhao Y, Xu LP, Kiselyuk A, Correa RG, Yang L, Hou T, Reed JC, Itkin-Ansari P, Levine F, Sanner MF, Fontana JA, Zhang XK
ChemMedChem. 2009 Jul;4(7):1106-19
Human beta-cell precursors mature into functional insulin-producing cells in an immunoisolation device: implications for diabetes cell therapies.
Lee SH, Hao E, Savinov AY, Geron I, Strongin AY, Itkin-Ansari P
Transplantation. 2009 Apr 15;87(7):983-91
Islet specific Wnt activation in human type II diabetes.
Lee SH, Demeterco C, Geron I, Abrahamsson A, Levine F, Itkin-Ansari P
Exp Diabetes Res. 2008;2008:728763
beta-cell Regeneration: neogenesis, replication or both?
Levine F, Itkin-Ansari P
J Mol Med (Berl). 2008 Mar;86(3):247-58
HES6 reverses nuclear reprogramming of insulin-producing cells following cell fusion.
Ball AJ, Abrahamsson AE, Tyrberg B, Itkin-Ansari P, Levine F
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2007 Apr 6;355(2):331-7
Pamela Itkin-Ansari's Research Focus
Cancer, Diabetes - General, Gastric Cancer, Monogenic Diabetes, Pancreatic Cancer, Type 1 Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes
Dr. Itkin-Ansari’s research is directed toward understanding diseases of the human pancreas. She has studied the signaling pathways controlling growth and differentiation in the pancreas in order to elucidate mechanisms leading to pancreatic pathogenesis. The lab is developing a cell based therapy for diabetes which will not require immunosuppression. New research in the lab has identified a signaling pathway controlling pancreatic cancer cell growth which is yielding new potential targets for drug discovery for pancreatic cancer.
Pamela Itkin-Ansari's Research Report
Genetic engineering in human pancreatic cells
In Type I, juvenile diabetes, the insulin producing beta-cells in pancreatic islets are destroyed by the immune system and patients require exogenous insulin. In Type II diabetes beta-cells are also lost or dysfunctional and therefore, 25% of patients with Type II diabetes also take insulin. Unfortunately, current insulin therapy is not sufficient to prevent serious medical consequences of this disease. Islet transplantation into the liver has been evaluated as a diabetes therapy in adults. However, it is considered too risky for children because transplant patients must take potent drugs to suppress the immune system for the rest of their lives.
The goal of our lab is to develop a human islet transplantation therapy for children which does not require immunosuppression
and is minimally invasive. Previously we determined that a durable encapsulation
device protected mouse islets from immune rejection in a mouse model of Type I
diabetes. The encapsulated cells were controlled diabetes in the animals. In a
preclinical trial we demonstrated that the device is also immunoprotective in primates. Recently we have collaborated with a local biotech company ViaCyte in a CIRM funded study to encapsulate human embryonic stem cell derived pancreas cells. Together we demonstrated that the cells differentiate into fully functional islets inside the device and cure diabetes in mice. Remarkably, the cells functioned well even when the device was transplanted just under the skin, making the procedure minimally invasive.
Islet clusters in the developing pancreas
We also study the signaling pathways involved in:
- beta-cell differentiation
- beta-cell function
- beta-cell replication and regeneration
Id3 (green) in human pancreatic cancer
We are interested in identifying the master regulators of growth control in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA). We found that the transcriptional repressor Id3 is profoundly upregulated in human PDA. To investigate whether Id3 might play an early role in aberrant pancreatic duct cell growth, we expressed the gene in primary human duct cells which are not normally growing. Indeed, Id3 expression was sufficient to trigger cell cycle entry. Further, the lab demonstrated that Id3 is required for pancreatic cancer cell growth. We are now studying Id3 interacting genes in order to identify optimal targets for drug discovery efforts for PDA.
About Pamela Itkin-Ansari
Pamela Itkin-Ansari earned her Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from the University of California, San Diego, in 1999. She received postdoctoral training focused on juvenile diabetes at that same organization. In 2003 Dr. Itkin-Ansari was appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and maintains UCSD as her primary affiliation. Dr. Itkin-Ansari was appointed to Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in 2005 and her laboratory is at Sanford-Burnham Institute.
Assistant Adjunct Professor, University of California, San Diego School of Medicine
Funding Awards and Collaborative Grants
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF)
California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM)
Honors and Recognition
2008 Health Hero Award, JDRF and Combined Health Agencies of San Diego
2009 Invited Speaker, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee
2009 Invited Speaker, UK Consulate Stem Cell Meeting
2009 Finalist-NIH President’s New Innovator Award
2010 Invited Speaker, 3rd International Conference on Advanced Technologies & Treatments for Diabetes, Switzerland
2010 Editorial Board -Stem Cell Reviews and Reports [SCRR]
2010 Invited Speaker, American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy, Washington, D.C:
2010 Invited Speaker, 3rd International Conference on Advanced Technologies & Treatments
for Diabetes, Basel, Switzerland
2011 Invited Speaker, American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy, Seattle, Washington
2011 Editorial Board -World Journal of Diabetes
2008-present Board of Directors, JDRF San Diego chapter