Principal Investigator: Karen Herbst, PhD, MD

Institution: University of Arizona, College of Medicine, Tucson

LF Funding History: 2015 Collaborative Award

Collaborative Opportunities: We are currently looking for collaborators able to provide fat tissue samples from individuals with or without lipedema (controls). The samples will be stored at the University of Arizona tissue biorepository and utilized for research purposes.

Current LF Collaborations:

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Research Updates:

Project: Treatment, Research and Education of Adipose Tissue (TREAT) Program

Established with a $1.5M gift from the Lipedema Foundation, The TREAT Program at the University of Arizona College of Medicine is the first of its kind multi-disciplinary group focused on lipedema and all adipose tissue disorders (ATDs). The program involves exceptional imaging programs, collaborative faculty, and leverages state-of-the-art facilities including the University of Arizona Biorepository, in an effort to find a cure for all ATDs.

A person with an ATD has abnormal fat tissue that is generally non-responsive to caloric restriction, over-activity, or bariatric surgery. The lack of belief in this resistant fat and the prevalence of obesity and fibromyalgia in the general population have contributed to the limited recognition and treatment of ATDs. To address these challenges, the TREAT Program is focusing on three main objectives:

  1. Treatment - Find new treatment modalities for ATDs
  2. Research - Examine genes and gene expression important in lipedema subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT); Use state-of-the-art imaging to visualize the palpable, grainy, pearl-sized, walnut, or fist-sized granules of lipedema SAT; Assess the levels of vascularity and inflammation of lipedema SAT
  3. Educate - Train current physicians and future generations of healthcare providers to recognize, understand, and provide care for people with ATDs



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