Entertainer Tony Orlando (left) joins top Fraternal Order of Eagles officials atthe Diabetes Research Center at the University of Iowa Saturday. Vergennes resident and Eagle Tom McGrath helped present a $5 million check to the University of Iowa. The local donation is part of five-year, $25 million Eagles donation to University of Iowa.
Vergennes resident Tom McGrath, current Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center Co-Director, helped the organization present a $5 million check to the University of Iowa Saturday as part of their five-year, $25 million commitment to finding a cure for diabetes.
McGrath joined the Eagles in 1962 and is currently a member of Addison County Aerie 3801 in Vergennes.
The check marks $15 million in donations made by the Eagles since the project began in 2008. A recent study done by researchers at the University of Iowa with funding from the Diabetes Research Center has found that ursolic acid, a substance found in apple peel, reduced fat, blood sugar levels, cholesterol and triglycerides in mice and may be useful in treating diabetes.
Though the John and Mary Pappajohn Biomedical Discovery Building, future home of the Diabetes Research Center, is currently little more than dirt and steel, the center is already making significant medical breakthroughs.
Endocrinologist Christopher Adams, M.D., Ph. D., led the study which found that ursolic acid helped insulin-like growth factor-1 and insulin, hormones that help to build muscle and prevent muscle atrophy. Unexpectedly, the study also found that the substance reduced body fat in mice and lowered blood sugar levels and cholesterol, a key to preventing type-II diabetes.
The Fraternal Order of Eagles is also funding the future of diabetes research as four promising young doctors have received $50,000 research grants to develop studies related to diabetes.