Neuroendocrine cells are part of the endocrine system; examples of the glands that are found in this system include the pituitary, thyroid and adrenal glands and pancreatic islet cells.
If your doctor told you that you had a neuroendocrine tumor, or NET for short, what would you think? Many possible questions may come to mind. Do I have cancer? How is this treated? What type of doctors treat these types of tumors?
To understand a diagnosis of neuroendocrine tumors, it helps to understand the basic biology of the neuroendocrine system. These cells are part of the endocrine system which includes the pituitary, pineal, thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal glands, pancreatic islet cells, the ovaries and testicles. Neuroendocrine cells are found throughout the body, but mainly in the digestive and respiratory systems. Continue reading →
James Shayman, M.D., one of two U-M scientists who led the development of the drug eliglustat tartrate, now sold as Cerdelga
It took more than 40 years, and a lot of dedication. But an idea born and nurtured in University of Michigan laboratories is now making a difference in the lives of patients with a rare disease.
For one of the first times, a drug developed first at U-M, and then further by a company, made it through all the steps it takes to reach patients around the world.
And even though the disease it treats only affects about 10,000 people worldwide, it’s become a product that a company can sell and doctors can prescribe to their patients. In this case, it’s patients with the debilitating and potentially fatal rare condition called Gaucher disease.
Quinn Avis is much like many five-year-old boys. He loves Cars and Kung Fu Panda. He wants his 8-year-old brother, Desmond, to tackle him like the football players he sees on TV. He enjoys going to the park, and has an infectious ability to make others smile.
But Quinn is also a living miracle. According to his family, he is possibly the oldest known survivor of two extremely rare disorders: Prune belly syndrome and Berdon Syndrome, otherwise known as Megacystis Microcolon Intestinal Hypoperistalsis (MMIHS).
“My mom knew since my birth that something wrong was going on, but didn’t know what exactly,” says Daizha Hill, now 16 years old. “She kept a book where she would write down every symptom I was having when I didn’t feel good. Then she would try to look them up online to see what she could find out.”
Daizha and her mother, Juanita Brooks-Hill, went to several doctors in the Metro Detroit area looking for answers to her symptoms. Meanwhile, Juanita kept searching online for experts that helped patients with symptoms that matched what Daizha was experiencing.
That’s when she stumbled across Dr. Elif Oral, an endocrinologist, on the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) website. After further searching, she found that Dr. Oral had recently moved to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, which meant she was not too far away from them.
Daizha and Dr. Oral
After a few appointments with Dr. Oral, Daizha was officially diagnosed with lipodystrophy. Continue reading →
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