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  4. Phillip Gorden, M.D., Director Emeritus

Phillip Gorden, M.D., Director Emeritus

Professional Experience

  • M.D., Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, 1961
  • B.A., Vanderbilt University, 1957

Research Goal

The goal of our laboratory is to find improved therapeutic modalities for rare forms of diabetes and insulin-resistant conditions, and to provide better forms of therapy for autoimmune and other organic forms of hypoglycemia.

Current Research

Our lab conducts studies of patients with extreme forms of insulin resistance, including patients with mutations in the insulin receptor, autoantibodies to the insulin receptor, and other related problems.

We also conduct studies of patients with lipoatrophy, including genetic and acquired syndromes. These studies involve genetics, lipotoxicity, insulin resistance, and other related problems. A major clinical trial is underway to determine the effect of leptin therapy on reducing insulin resistance in patients with complete lipodystrophy and extreme forms of insulin resistance.

Our research also includes studies of organic hypoglycemia, including the diagnostic value of proinsulin in insulinoma and studies of diagnosis, localization, and the treatment of benign and malignant insulinoma.

We also study patients with acromegaly to discover novel pathophysiology.

Applying our Research

The fundamental goal of our studies is to translate basic research concepts into useful and practical treatments for several different, important conditions. We utilize the information obtained about patients with rare diseases to understand fundamental targets for therapy in common metabolic syndromes such as diabetes, obesity, and related conditions.

Need for Further Study

We wish to exploit targets for treatment that we have already identified and find new targets that will be applicable for the treatment of common metabolic diseases.

Select Publications

Syndromic insulin resistance: models for the therapeutic basis of the metabolic syndrome and other targets of insulin resistance.
Gorden P, Zadeh ES, Cochran E, Brown RJ.
Endocr Pract (2012 Sep-Oct) 18:763-71. Abstract/Full Text
Insulin resistance is a sufficient basis for hyperandrogenism in lipodystrophic women with polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Lungu AO, Zadeh ES, Goodling A, Cochran E, Gorden P.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab (2012 Feb) 97:563-7. Abstract/Full Text
View More Publications

Research in Plain Language

We study two main patient populations. First are patients with extreme forms of insulin resistance. Included are patients with

  • mutations— permanent changes—in an insulin receptor, which is an area on the outer part of a cell that binds to insulin;
  • autoantibodies—antibodies directed to one’s self—to the insulin receptors; and
  • other related problems.

Second are patients with lipoatrophy, which is loss of fatty tissues in parts of the body. With this patient population, we study

  • genetics;
  • lipotoxicity, when fat gathers in body organs and causes damage;
  • insulin resistance, a condition in which the body produces insulin but does not use it the right way; and
  • other related problems.

We also conduct research on

  • organic hypoglycemia, which are low blood sugar levels caused by liver diseases;
  • diagnosis and treatment of insulinomas, which are tumors of the pancreas that can be cancerous or noncancerous; and
  • tumors of the pituitary gland, which make growth hormone.